One in 33 babies that are born in the United States will be born with a congenital disability. Congenital disabilities can range from cleft lip or palate to congenital heart defects. The best way to prevent these congenital disabilities is by taking care of your baby while they are in the womb. There are a lot of ways to keep your unborn baby healthy. Whether you are a first-time mom or have had a kid before, these tips should be implemented into your life during your pregnancy.
1. Get Enough Activity
Exercising is an important part of life. It becomes really important during your pregnancy because it offers so many different benefits. Exercise can help you sleep better and ease constipation. It can also help relieve backaches and pain. Maintaining a consistent workout routine will not only keep off extra weight, but it will also prepare your body for birth. Going into the delivery process with a well-exercised body will make the whole process a lot easier. If you have never worked out before, you will want to start with something light like a 30-minute walk. If you have been working out consistently before your pregnancy, you may be able to continue to do so; you will want to check with your doctor. (https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercising-pregnancy.html)
2. Don’t Skip Prenatal Care
There are a lot of doctors appointments that you will have to go to before you even have your child. You mustn’t skip out on these appointments. They aren’t just a way to see your precious baby. These appointments are to make sure your baby is growing properly, and there is nothing wrong. You will be seeing a lot of this medical professional, so it is important you find one that you like and feel comfortable with.
3. Take Your Vitamins
At your doctor’s appointments, they will give you a few vitamins that you should be taking. The most common would be folic acid, calcium, and iron. These vitamins will help your baby’s brain and body to develop at the best rate possible. There are a lot of prenatal vitamins available on the market. Your doctor may recommend a specific brand or type of vitamin. If not, just make sure you read the label and check that it has those three vitamins.
4. Quit Any Unhealthy Habits
If you want to smoke and drink alcohol when you aren’t pregnant, that is your choice. Once you are pregnant, you need to keep your unborn child in mind. The list of side effects of smoking and drinking while pregnant is pretty long. Some of these side effects would be a lower birth weight and increased risk of respiratory problems in the long run. However, the most severe side effect would be an increase in SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312313/)
5. Reduce Stress
Growing a baby is stressful enough for your body; you don’t need to add on. While you are pregnant, you should be avoiding all types of stressful situations. Make sure that your friends and family know to keep you out of any drama or stress. Too much stress can leave you feeling exhausted and worn out. If you deal with too much stress, it could lead to premature labor.
6. Stay Hydrated
The majority of Americans are dehydrated regularly. When you are pregnant, you must get at least 75 ounces of water per day. It can be annoying to drink all of this water because it will seem like you are spending your whole day in the bathroom. However, getting enough water will give you energy. It is also going to combat common side effects of pregnancy like cramping and constipation. You can also increase your hydration levels by eating fruits and drinking herbal tea.
7. Maintain Healthy Diet
While you are pregnant, you must be maintaining a healthy diet. It can be hard to do this while experiencing cravings, but you need to. You aren’t going to feed your child candy and processed food as soon as they are born. So don’t feed it to them while they are developing in the womb. Some other foods that you should avoid would be raw or rare meat, soft cheeses, liver, lunch meat, unpasteurized milk, raw eggs, and sushi. All of these foods can cause you to get very sick while pregnant.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep during your pregnancy is super important. You are growing a human with your body. So, your body needs plenty of rest to ensure that your body is staying healthy; that way, it can give your baby all of the nutrients and minerals that it needs. It is recommended that you sleep on your left side. This will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that will get to the baby. (https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy/)
9. Be Mindful of Medicine
There is some medicine that you will want to use while you are pregnant. For example, you will want to get your vaccines to protect from the flu and the Zikka virus. However, you will want to pay close attention to any prescription medicine you are taking. There are a lot of medicines that will mess with your pregnancy. Luckily, there are only about 30 that will lead to congenital disabilities. Some ingredients that you should avoid while pregnant would be phenytoin, ACE inhibitors, warfarin, tetracycline, and those are just the most common. You must read the ingredient labels before consuming any medicine.
Keeping your unborn baby healthy should be the main goal of your pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant, you should start developing these habits early. That way, you are already used to doing the things that will keep your unborn baby healthy. You should start implementing these tips as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.