You’re pregnant. Congratulations! It’s the beginning of one of the most significant and fulfilling experiences in your life.
Now, especially in the first trimester of your pregnancy, you’ll hear a lot of strange advice from others – but be careful. You only need to take certain steps to ensure that the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly and that you have a healthy delivery.
Let’s talk about some key pieces of advice that are medically accurate, and where you can go in Syracuse for outstanding obstetric care so you can have a healthy, happy baby.
How to Begin a Healthy Pregnancy
Here are some of the first-trimester dos and don’ts you need to follow:
- Eat well. This may sound like a given, but there are some guidelines about diet and pregnancy you need to know. Fuel your body with organic foods when possible, and eat from local food sources when you can in order to ensure consumption of fresh food.
Avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish, and eggs so you’re not exposed to salmonella. When snacking, eat foods that are colorful, such as spinach, carrots, red apples, yellow bananas, and blueberries. These foods provide the most nutrients and antioxidants. Remember that your baby is nourished through amniotic fluid, so the healthier variety of foods you eat, the healthier your baby is likely to be.
- Don’t eat for two. You’ve heard the expression to “eat for two” when you’re pregnant, but forget about it. Research shows that up to 50% of women gain too much weight during pregnancy, putting their baby at greater risk of obesity later in life. Yes, you generally need additional calories in the second and third trimesters as the baby gets bigger, but not necessarily in the first. Instead, eat until you’re satisfied, then stop.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements. Make sure you’re consuming at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid (folate, or vitamin B-9) daily in the first trimester of pregnancy, as this helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida (a spine defect) and anencephaly (a fatal brain defect) in the baby. Prenatal vitamins not only supply your necessary dosage of folate, but also contain calcium, iron, zinc, and appropriate amounts of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids – which are imperative for brain development in your baby.
- Get plenty of sleep. You’ll feel tired throughout your pregnancy, so don’t fight it. It’s only natural because your body is going through significant changes and developing a life-providing system for your baby. You’ll also likely go through some hormonal and emotional changes that occasionally leave you exhausted. Take frequent naps or rest time even if you work. You’re also going to need at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
- Get a flu shot. Because of changes to your immune system and vital organs during pregnancy, you are more prone to suffering a serious reaction if you get the flu while pregnant. Also, the influenza virus raises your risk of complications, including premature labor. So, get vaccinated to reduce the risk. The vaccine can also protect your baby from contracting the flu after birth, since your antibodies are passed to your child during pregnancy.
- Visit the dentist. Oral health assessments and professional teeth cleanings during pregnancy can help detect and prevent periodontal (gum) disease, which is prevalent in up to 40% of pregnant women. The related bacteria can flow through your circulatory system and negatively affect the health of your baby.
- Stay hydrated. Getting enough water each day helps prevent preterm labor, as well as headaches, kidney stones, and dizziness. It also helps to avoid constipation and hemorrhoids. You can tell if you are sufficiently hydrated if your urine is light yellow to clear. If it’s dark yellow, it’s a sign you need to increase your water intake.
- Avoid smoking, and don’t drink alcohol. Women who smoke during pregnancy are at greater risk of miscarriage, and their babies are at greater risk of birth defects, premature birth, low birth rate, and infant death, not to mention learning disabilities. Also, the nicotine in tobacco products can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs.Likewise, drinking alcohol in the first trimester of pregnancy can cause your baby to have abnormal facial features and growth, and central nervous system problems (issues with the brain and spinal cord). It can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or a wide range of behavioral and intellectual disabilities in your child.
- Moderate your intake of caffeine. Two cups of coffee per day should be your limit, as research shows that consuming too many caffeinated drinks during pregnancy is associated with a greater risk of miscarriage.
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Your body during pregnancy is unable to lose heat quickly by sweating, and so a rise in your body’s core temperature will increase your risk of overheating, dehydration, or fainting. All of these raise your risk of miscarriage.
OB/GYN Doctors in Syracuse, New York
At University OB/GYN Associates, our goal is to help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy. Our obstetricians, maternal and fetal medicine specialists, and midwives will work to keep you and your baby safe while honoring your birth plan wishes.
To learn more about our OB/GYN services or to arrange an appointment at University OB/GYN Associates in Syracuse, call us today at (315) 464-5162. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!