By Laura Roe Stevens / www.divinecaroline.com
You’re on top of things. Responsibly, you take folic acid every day and have been since you started trying to have a baby. You happily avoid alcohol and other drugs. Likely, you read one or two pregnancy books and see your doctor regularly. But you may be making avoidable mistakes that can put you and your baby at risk. Here are some that experts say happen quite a lot by expecting women.
1. Not buckling up
According to a recent study, many women will stop buckling up in cars fearing that the strap could harm their fetus. This is often done later in pregnancy as the bump gets bigger. Don’t fall for this mistake! Car accidents kill more fetuses than babies each year in America—most experts say could have been avoided had seat belts been worn. If the seat belt is uncomfortable, be sure that you have the waist strap below the bump and across your pelvis. If you are expecting multiples, you may opt to get a seat belt extender.
2. Not continuing medications for pre-existing diseases
A lot of women think that all prescription drugs can cause birth deformities and stop taking them when pregnant. This is a bad decision for women with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, seizure disorders, or psychiatric illnesses, which have to be kept in check. My asthma doctor told me recently that one of his patients had a severe asthma attack that landed her in the hospital where she lost her baby. Had she continued with her asthma inhaler during pregnancy, the attack that risked her baby never would have happened. The best thing to do if you have a preexisting condition is to ask the doctor for advice on continuing versus stopping the medication.
3. Eating for two
Average weight gain during pregnancy should only be about twenty-five pounds. A woman only needs 300 more calories a day when pregnant—and the calories need to be rich with vitamins and protein.