Pregnancy is a life-changing experience for most women. Their bodies go through many changes. They may also experience discomfort, pain and strange sensations as a new life grows in their womb. Their delicate condition may also put them at risk for health issues and accidents.
“Aside from having to share their nutrients with their unborn child, pregnant women are also vulnerable to many health problems as they undergo physical and physiological changes. While the health risks are unavoidable, women can make lifestyle changes to keep themselves and their babies healthy,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.
To ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy, expectant mothers are reminded to:
Eat a well-balanced diet. Pregnant women are advised to eat a lot of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean meat. These foods are rich in calories and essential nutrients that keep them and their babies well-nourished. To avoid foodborne diseases, food must be prepared properly. Commercialized food with lots of preservatives, undercooked meat and unpasteurized dairy products must be avoided.
Manage food cravings. Some pregnant women experience cravings for certain foods as a result of the changes in their nutritional needs. Fulfilling these cravings may help them get the necessary nourishment and ensure the normal development of their baby. However, some expectant mothers experience a craving for nonfood items, like clay and laundry detergent, which can be harmful to pregnancy. Women who experience this are advised to seek help from medical experts.
Drink plenty of water. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day is essential for expectant mothers to stay hydrated and support the life inside their womb. Water also helps them prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, urinary tract and bladder infections, contractions, and premature or early labor.
Stay active. Exercise prevents pain, discomfort and depression. It also prepares their bodies for labor and delivery. However, they are also advised to stop exercising when they’re exhausted or feeling any pain. It is also safer for them to a consult a doctor first before starting a fitness routine.
Wear comfortable clothes. Pregnant women are advised to wear maternity clothes, which are especially made to provide adequate comfort and support as they gain weight and their bellies grow. When it comes to footwear, it is wise for them to temporarily ditch high heels and platform shoes for a pair of comfy flats or loafers that can ease pregnancy-related foot discomfort and keep them safe from falling and hurting themselves. Wearing support stockings can also minimize foot and ankle swelling.
Stop smoking and drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Expectant mothers are strongly advised to quit smoking because of the harmful effects of nicotine to the developing fetus in their womb. Likewise, exposure to the chemicals in coffee, alcohol and carbonated beverages can slow down their baby’s development and could sometimes result in miscarriage and preterm birth.
Get regular prenatal care visits. Doctors recommend expectant mothers to get at least four prenatal care consultations throughout their pregnancy. During these visits, their health and that of their babies are closely monitored. They are also provided with essential vitamins and supplements for a healthy pregnancy.
The MediCard Lifestyle Center and MediCard clinics offer consultations on obstetrics and gynecology. All medical services are also open to non-members. For more information, visit http://medicardphils.com.