Tips for Mother and Baby Before, During and After Pregnancy
Humans have been getting pregnant and giving birth for hundreds of thousands of years. The basics have remained constant during that time.
Nutrition and science, however, have advanced to the point that people who once had no chance of ever getting pregnant, can how have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy children.
Parents play a big part — beyond the donation of genetic material — in healthy pregnancies and birth. Here are some checklists of things you can do before, during and after pregnancy to keep yourself, your partner, and your baby well.
- Start planning — Just like you take steps to prevent pregnancy, you should take steps to keep yourself and baby healthy when you decide it’s time to have a baby.
- Visit your doctor — Let your doctor know your plans. Discuss any family history regarding pregnancy, medical conditions, medications, lifestyle, and vaccinations.
- Take folic acid — You should take 400 micrograms starting at least a month before getting pregnant and continue through pregnancy.
- Stop drinking alcohol, smoking, and drug use — These are all leading factors in birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.
- Avoid toxins — Cat and rat feces can affect the human reproductive system. So can manmade toxins in fertilizer, bug spray, or synthetic chemicals. Try to avoid exposure.
- Find the right weight — Obesity during pregnancy can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. It’s not healthy to be underweight either. Talk to your doctor about finding the right weight.
- Find help for family violence — Partner violence is always wrong and dangerous. Pregnancy adds a new element to the equation. Get help to find a safe situation.
- Know your family’s medical history — Ask questions. There may be traits you don’t know about that would be helpful to share with your doctor.
- Get mentally focused — Pregnancy can be stressful. Don’t let that stress interfere with your daily activities. Talk to your doctor about thoughts and feelings, and treatment if you feel overwhelmed.
- Keep at it — You may be building new habits. Stick with them to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
Keeping yourself and your baby healthy will be your focus once you become pregnant. It’s important to keep doing the good things you did before getting pregnant. It is also important to make sure you are fully vaccinated. That includes having the COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe for expectant mothers to get the vaccine. It’s also important for passing those antibodies onto their newborns.
Other steps include:
- Regular prenatal checkups
- Taking folic acid
- Continuing to be tobacco, alcohol, and drug free
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding exposure to environmental toxins
- Checking with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications
It’s important for mothers to listen to their bodies and observe changes that may seem surprising. Talk with your doctor about warning signs and don’t be embarrassed to raise an alarm.
Most expectant mothers cannot WAIT to give birth. But once you’ve delivered there are new things to think about. They include:
- Breastfeeding — There are multiple benefits for mother and child. Lactation counselors can help with any problems you may encounter, getting your baby to latch. It’s important to safely handle and storage breast milk if you do breastfeed.
- Postpartum depression — Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed after delivery.
- Vaccinations — It is crucial to get your baby vaccinated. Follow this immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Jaundice — Newborns sometimes have too much bilirubin in their bloodstream which causes their skin and eyes to appear yellow. It can lead to brain damage in newborns if untreated.
Parents need to be on the lookout for healthy and normal development in their baby. Make sure to attend well-baby visits and get all the recommended immunizations. You should also track your baby’s development and visit their pediatrician if you have any questions.
It Takes a Village
Parenting is a big job, but you don’t have to do it alone. AltaMed is available to provide specialized care to expectant mothers, new mothers, and newborns, giving them the best start at life. That includes age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. Our pediatricians also have information on early childhood development milestones and can talk to you about any concerns you may have during your child’s first few years of life.
Get started by contacting us today at (877) 462-2582.