- See your Dr. regularly. Routine visits help keep the baby and you safe and healthy. Also, if there is a problem, it will be spotted early.
- Take your folic acid. Getting enough folic acid lowers the risk of birth defects and taking a vitamin with folic acid will help you be sure you are getting enough. All women capable of pregnancy should get 400-800 micrograms every day. In some pregnant patients a higher dose may be recommended especially if you have twins or certain other risks.
- Eat as many different colored foods as possible. Consuming a variety of healthy foods will ensure proper nutrition and vitamin intake. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, lean meats, and approved seafood (see Don’ts List).
- Prenatal vitamins & supplements. Ask your doctor about which prenatal vitamin or iron supplement is right for you. Our office provides various samples to try.
- Drink lots of water.
- Stay active. Unless your doctor or nurse practitioner tells you otherwise, physical activity is beneficial to you and your baby.
- Gain a healthy amount of weight. Gaining more than the recommended amount increases your risk for complications during pregnancy. It also makes losing the weight after deliver more difficult. Decide with your healthcare provider what the appropriate amount of weight gain is for you.
- Wash your hands. Be extra careful around raw meat and when using the bathroom.
- Get enough “shut-eye”. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Resting on your left side helps blood flow to you and your baby. Use pillows between your legs and under your belly for added comfort.
- Guard your time & energy. If you can, control the stress in your life and set limits. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests for your time and energy. Ask for help from friends and family.
- Be conscious of your current health problems. Make sure health problems are treated and kept under control. For example, if you have diabetes, watch your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor it closely.
- Ask your doctor before starting or stopping any medications. Prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbal medicine have the possibility of harming your baby.
- Consider a flu shot. Pregnant women can get very sick from the flu. Central Florida has accounted for several deaths already. Ask your healthcare provider about the flu vaccine.
- Always wear your seatbelt. The lap strap should go under your belly, across your hips. The shoulder strap should be between your breasts and to the side of your belly. Give the strap a snug fit.
- Join childbirth and parenting classes. Florida Hospital provides numerous resources and classes for you. New and experienced parents are all welcome. Ask our office about current classes being held.
- Do not smoke tobacco. Ask your doctor or nurse practitioner for assistance. Quitting is hard but possible. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of small birth weight infants, cervical cancer progression and increases SIDS deaths of babies who are born into homes that smoke.
- Avoid exposure to toxic substances and chemicals. Lead, mercury, and insecticides can all harm you and your baby. Paint is another toxic substance you should avoid during pregnancy. Handle, clean, cook, and eat food properly and safely.
- Ditch the alcohol. There is no known safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink while pregnant.
- Don’t use illegal drugs. These are very harmful for the baby.
- Let another person change the cat litter box. Cleaning or changing a cat’s litter box puts you at risk for toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be harmful to the baby.
- Do not eat swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish. These predatory fish are high in mercury.
- Avoid contact with rodents and their “byproducts”. This does include pets such as guinea pigs and hamsters. These mammals carry many viruses.
- Don’t take very hot baths or use hot tubs or saunas. High temperatures are harmful to the fetus.
- Don’t use scented feminine hygiene products. Pregnant women should avoid scented sprays, sanitary napkins, and bubble bath products. These might irritate your vaginal area and increase your risk of a UTI or yeast infection. Many women can attest to the discomfort and pain of either of these infections.
- Do not douche. This can irritate the vagina as well. Forcing air into the birth canal, increasing your risk for infection are unwanted pregnancy complications.
- Avoid x-rays. If you must have dental work or diagnostic tests, tell your dentist or physician you are pregnant so that he/she will take extra precautions.
(Modified list from womenshealth.gov)