Caring for Your Child in Pregnancy


prenatalCongratulations, you’re pregnant! As you seek to promote your child’s health from the get-go, here are seven tips to help you on the path.

See your doc right away. Your OB-GYN will be an invaluable resource to you during this time. He or she can help monitor your progress, screen for conditions that could lead to complications, make the best dietary and lifestyle recommendations, answer your questions, and help you manage discomforting symptoms.
Background check your medications. If you were taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication prior to getting pregnant, check with your OB-GYN to see whether it’s OK to continue. Certain medicines can harm your baby, but your doctor may be able to offer you a safe alternative.
Learn what not to do. In addition to avoiding alcohol, smoking, and secondhand smoke – all of which are 100% no-nos in pregnancy – you’ll also want to steer clear of toxic chemicals, paint fumes, cat feces, raw meat, raw eggs, seafood with high mercury content, and foods that may contain the bacteria listeria.
Boost your nutrition. What you eat is what your baby eats, too, so make it good! Work toward a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, lean meats, dairy, and fiber-rich carbohydrates. Try to get the most nutrition you can from every calorie you take in.
Supplement with vitamins. Your OB-GYN will probably give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins or recommend an over-the-counter version at your first visit. Take them! Folic acid, calcium, and iron are important nutrients for you and for your baby’s development.
Get moving. Take a pregnancy exercise class or go for a walk – shoot for around 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise most days of the week. If you know you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor about what’s appropriate for you.
Find good resources. Consult with trusted moms or check out books from the library on pregnancy and parenting. A little education can go a long way in protecting your baby and preparing you for motherhood. Learn not only how to take care of your body, but your emotions, too, as you go through this major life change.

If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s a good idea to have a preconception care checkup. The first eight weeks of pregnancy are key for the baby growing inside you, as its when
most major organs and body systems begin to form. The goal of this checkup is to find anything that could affect your baby’s growth and development – particularly in these early weeks. Identifying these factors before pregnancy allows you to take steps that can increase the chances of having a heal-thy pregnancy and a healthy baby.