TIPS FOR PREGNANCY
To optimize women's fertility, taking better care of their bodies is a good first step. But what else can women do to improve their odds of having a baby? The most important advice for a woman who wants to get pregnant is to get to know her body and take care of it.
TIPS FOR PREGNANT WOMAN
1) STAYING HEALTHY DURING PREGNANCY
If you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you probably know some of the basic pregnancy advice about taking care of yourself and the baby: don't smoke or be around secondhand smoke, don't drink, and get your rest. Here are more pregnancy tips that can help ensure safe and healthy prenatal development.
2) TAKE A PRENATAL VITAMIN
Even when you're still trying to conceive, it's smart to start taking prenatal vitamins. Your baby's neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first month of pregnancy, so it's important you get essential nutrients – like folic acid, calcium, and iron – from the very start. Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter at most drug stores, or you can get them by prescription from your doctor. If taking them makes you feel queasy, try taking them at night or with a light snack. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy afterward can help, too.
Staying active is important for your general health and can help you reduce stress, control your weight, improve circulation, boost your mood, and sleep better. Take a pregnancy exercise class or walk at least 15-20 minutes every day at a moderate pace, in cool, shaded areas or indoors in order to prevent overheating. Pilates, yoga, swimming, and walking are also great activities for most pregnant women, but be sure to check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Listen to your body, though, and don't overdo it.
4) DRINK MORE WATER
During pregnancy, your blood is supplying oxygen and essential nutrients to your baby through the placenta and carrying waste and carbon dioxide away — which means your blood volume increases up to 50 percent to handle all this extra activity. So, you need to drink more to support that gain. Drinking water can also help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, UTIs, fatigue, headaches, swelling, and other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Aim for 8-10 glasses per day, and if you don't enjoy the taste, try adding a squeeze of lime or a splash of fruit juice.
5) STAY CLEAN
Frequent handwashing can protect you from infections such as Group 3 streptococcus, Fifth disease, cytomegalovirus, and chickenpox, all of which can cause birth defects and other severe complications for your baby. Ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizers like the JOYLEE™ Hand Sanitizer or Disinfectant Spray are a great option for those times when you can't get to a sink.
6) TRAVEL SMART
Go ahead: book that flight, but take some precautions. Mid-pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks) is usually the best time to fly—by this time you're probably over morning sickness, and the risk of miscarriage or early delivery is low. Still, check with your doctor about any travel plans, and make sure the airline has no restrictions for a pregnant woman. On the plane, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and get up and walk around every half hour to reduce the risk of blood clots. An aisle seat will give you more room and make trips to the bathroom easier. In the car, continue to wear a safety belt. The shoulder portion of the restraint should be positioned over the collar bone. The lap portion should be placed under the abdomen as low as possible on the hips and across the upper thighs, never above the abdomen. Also, pregnant women should sit as far from the airbag as possible.
7) LEARN ABOUT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
You've probably heard of postpartum depression, but you may not know that 10 percent to 20 percent of women experience symptoms of major depression during pregnancy. This could increase your risk of preterm labor. If you're feeling unexplainably sad, angry, or guilty – or if you lose interest in activities you usually enjoy or sleep too much – tell your doctor. Therapy, a support group, an antidepressant medication, or a combination of the three will likely help. Not all antidepressants are safe for pregnant women, so be sure to work with a doctor who is familiar with pregnancy-related mental health issues.