MATERNITY HEALTH

Being pregnant can be exciting, scary and stressful all at the same time. With all of these emotions your body is also experiencing the effects of pregnancy.

As if that is not enough, relatives and friends are constantly bombarding you with advice on what to do and what not to do. We believe in going back to basics on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. Hopefully we can help with that.

LETS START WITH THE – DO’S

1) EAT RIGHT

Eating healthy is essential for pregnant women. Remember if you consume an excessive amount of unhealthy food (as you may have before pregnancy) you are also in effect feeding your baby the unhealthy food.

Healthy foods include:

Fruits such as berries, citrus and avocado.

Vegetables containing iron such as green leaves and broccoli

Foods which are high in fiber

2) STAY HYDRATED

Your body needs more water when you are pregnant. Swop the sugary drinks for a glass of purified water. Consume at least 2 liters a day but don’t over-do it!

Staying hydrated is obviously good for your body which makes it good for your baby, but consuming enough water can help with issues such as constipation and headaches. (It is not recommended that women take painkillers so consuming enough water may reduce your chances of having mild headaches.)

3) START EXCERCISING AND STAY FIT

Exercise is good for most pregnant women and staying fit can make your labour experience less painful. Studies have shown that women who stay fit tend to go through labour faster. It is also obvious that the fitter you are the more endurance you will have during labour which can, as you are probably aware, last hours!

Ask your doctor how much exercise you can do. Some women may experience high blood pressure during pregnancy so don’t over do it. The general consensus is to keep your exercise light to moderate and not to over exert yourself.

4) FOCUS ON CREATING A STRESS-FREE ENVIRONMENT

Easy right? It may sound ridiculous to say that you should stay stress free as quite frankly it is impossible. So what can you do? Constantly make yourself aware of the fact that stress may affect your baby. It doesn’t have to be the doom and gloom sort of thought. Just remember that your unborn baby can sense stress. So make a conscious decision not to fret the small stuff during your pregnancy!

Now don’t stress (yes I said it), ”normal stress” caused by work, deadlines and traffic should not have too much of an impact. Although studies cannot exactly pinpoint the reason, it appears that mothers who had substantial stress such as PTSD have a greater chance of having a premature baby.

5) GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

Ample sleep is important for you and your baby. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (9 hours is better). Try to sleep on your left side to improve blood flow for you and your baby.

If you read up on this you will find studies that have shown that women who sleep less tend to go through labour for longer. Another quite obvious reason for getting enough sleep is because pregnant women are often tired during their last 3 trimesters. Fatigue and fluctuating hormone levels can easily lead to depression during your pregnancy.

Your relationship with your partner will also benefit from you getting enough sleep.

Bottom line – get enough sleep, its good for you and its good for your baby!

6) TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN

Trying to consume all the foods which contain the essential nutrients which your body requires can be tiring. There are plenty of multivitamins which you can take (of course we recommend Pregnapil Plus). Make taking a multivitamin a part of your daily routine. Make sure that the multivitamin contains folic acid and calcium.

Please do not substitute your healthy food with a multivitamin – you still need to eat!

NOW LET’S GET TO THE DONT’S

1) DON’T SMOKE AND DRINK

This has been mentioned time and time again, for good reason.

We wont go there in detail but fetal alcohol syndrome is real. Smoking increases chances of sudden infant death syndrome.

If you are struggling to stop smoking or drinking, seek treatment. Do not let your baby suffer the consequences of your decisions.

For alcohol addiction contact: 0861 435 722

For tobacco addiction contact: 021 851 5883 / 0861 100 200

Bottom line – smoking and drinking is bad for you and your baby. Don’t do it.

2) AVOID CERTAIN FOODS

Do not eat:

Raw or rare meat, liver, sushi, raw eggs (mayonnaise contains raw egg), soft cheeses and unpasteurised milk. Some seafood can be high in mercury. If you are adamant on fish choose Salmon instead.

Make sure that the food you eat is fresh. If you are unsure whether your food has ”gone bad” give it a skip to be safe. Food poisoning during pregnancy can be traumatic and dangerous for you and your baby during pregnancy.

3) CAFFEINE

Pregnant women are generally advised to keep their caffeine intake to 2 small cups of coffee. The best would be to avoid it.

The reason why is because unborn babies and their placentas do not contain the main enzyme which is required to metabolise caffeine and as such high levels of caffeine can build up in the placenta.

Try swop caffeine drinks such as coffee, tea and some soft drinks for water and our own South African favourite anti-oxidant – rooibos tea.