According to the Department of Health and Human Services, women who do not seek prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low baby birth weight and higher risk labor than those mothers who do get care. Most people know the common practices of prenatal care: no drinking or drugs, and limit caffeine; however, prenatal care is much, much more.
The Office on Women’s Health recommends these prenatal care do’s and don’ts for pregnant women:
Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with folic acid every day during pregnancy. Ask your doctor to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need, including iron. Low iron can lead to preterm birth and low birth weight.
Get a flu shot. The flu is dangerous to pregnant women and may result in hospital care. To avoid more doctor visits than you already have, get the flu shot.
Try to achieve at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, spreading the workouts over the seven days. Ask your doctor about a good level of activity for you.
Avoid very hot baths, hot tubs or saunas. Do not get X-rays; if needed, be sure to tell your physician of your pregnancy so precautions can be taken.
Do not start new medicines or stop current medicines without informing a doctor. Some medicines are not safe to consume during pregnancy, including over-the-counter medicines and herbal products.
“For your sake and for your baby’s sake, try to manage your stress during pregnancy,” advises Gloria Whitley, nurse manager at Fredericksburg Pregnancy Center. “This could be as simple as going for a daily walk, prayer, meditation or singing, but it also includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercise, adequate rest and healthy relationships.”