One key tip for a healthy pregnancy is to start the process BEFORE you’re pregnant. McLeod OB/GYN Dr. Jenna MacLennan explains that and other tips to help the mother and baby make it through the pregnancy in good health:
Here’s a summary of Dr. MacLennan’s tips:
I encourage all of my patients, and really, all women of reproductive age to talk to their doctor about their plans for a future childbearing. When you talk to your doctor, you want to specify your timeline and your doctor should go over all of the things that are conducive to a healthy pregnancy. Some things that you would want to go over: Any medications that you’re taking or any environmental exposures that you may be exposed to on a regular basis.
Any important family history and any conditions that you have that may impede your abilities to get pregnant. It’s also important even before you get pregnant to start taking prenatal vitamins in order to have those levels high enough for when in the early stages of your pregnancy.
Nutrition is important to a pregnancy. Generally, a woman only has to eat an extra 300 calories per day in her pregnancy, but these calories need to be really nutrient-dense in order to help facilitate the growing fetus. We really want women to focus on iron-rich foods, foods with lots of vitamins and lots of folic acid, and really, just a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables.
Exercise plays a role in pregnancy in many ways. Really, I encourage all of my patients to exercise during pregnancy as long as they can tolerate it and they were able to tolerate exercise prior to pregnancy. Pregnancy should not be a reason to stop exercising, even if it’s as little as walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, any sort of exercise you can get in during pregnancy helps contribute to a healthy pregnancy. In fact, being stationary helps or contributes to an unhealthy pregnancy, so we want to keep people moving.
Drinking alcohol during a pregnancy is unhealthy for the pregnancy for several reasons. Number one, we know that drinking alcohol is connected to a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome where the fetus can actually have some facial deformities as well as some mental impairment throughout their life.
Smoking cigarettes also can be detrimental to a pregnancy because it leads to things like intrauterine growth restriction or small babies, placental abruptions, which is the separation of the placenta during the pregnancy, preterm birth, which is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in America and also in South Carolina.
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