Are you pregnant? Are you thinking of becoming pregnant? Here are 10 important things to consider for a healthy pregnancy.
Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid and essential fatty acids starting 2-3 months before conception (when you start having unprotected sex in order to get pregnant). Take at least 800 micrograms of folic acid per day. Folic acid prevents open neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The neural tube closes on approximately day 24 of pregnancy. Also take a supplement of essential fatty acids (omega-3, 6, & 9) each day. Essential fatty acids can be found in many foods, but have been added to most prenatal vitamins. They have been shown to be good for babies’ brain and eye development, as well as moms.
- Dental Health:
Have a dental check up prior to conception to make sure there are no infections in your mouth. This is important because bacteria in your mouth may cause preterm labor and preterm delivery (premature baby).
- Clean Living:
Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use street drugs. Cigarettes expose the embryo/fetus to over 200 toxic chemicals which can interfere with the growth of the baby, causing the blood vessels to constrict. This constriction of the blood vessels causes an increase in blood pressure and a decrease in oxygen and nutrients going to the developing fetus.
Once pregnant, rest as much as possible. During pregnancy you should not take any sleeping medication, but you can have a glass of warm milk to help you relax. Seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night is usually sufficient, although sometimes your body wants more sleep. A nap during the day or late afternoon will provide a wonderful “pick-me-up.”
- Stay Hydrated:
Drink lots of water, at least two quarts per day. If dehydration occurs during pregnancy, it can cause your mouth to feel dry and your uterus may cramp, which is very concerning when pregnant. Also, avoid adding salt and sugar to anything you eat or drink.