Almost as soon as you see that little pink line on the pregnancy pee stick, the worry seems to set in. You start thinking about the heavy bag you lifted, the over-exerting morning run, the glass of wine you sipped at dinner last week, the last cigarette you smoked or passively smoked. No doubt about it, pregnancy can be one of the most exciting and the most worrisome times in a woman’s life because you have a life added to yours now, quite literally. So everything you do, associate with or put it into your body has to be rethought and analysed before going ahead with it. Every move is a decision. But stressing out about every little thing you come into contact with can make for a long and taxing three trimesters. And beating yourself up about things you did before you knew you were pregnant or before you found out they could be hazardous won’t do you or your baby any good. Buying a million baby books and pregnancy books will only make you feel better and more responsible. But quite frankly there are only a few strict Do’s and don’ts when you are pregnant. This list will give you the 10 most important ones, the rest your friends and family will fill you in to help keep your sanity during the next 36 weeks of pregnancy.
10. Care after conception
Conceiving a child is the most beautiful news a woman can hear, but the stress and the panic attacks needs the follow up. Post-conception a woman needs to take utmost care of herself in all situation and pay regular visits to a professional and a credible gynecologist. Paying visits won’t suffice, the advice given must be adhered to. In cases where the woman is conceiving after a prior miscarriage, she needs to take care of herself twice as much as she did the previous time.
The food intake must filter into a pregnancy diet for a healthy development of the baby and ensure good health of the mother too. It goes without saying that preferably a balanced diet should be followed which includes all the nutrients and components. Any prior diets for weight-loss or other sport activities should be stopped immediately on realizing you are pregnant. Apart from which there are simple do’s and don’ts to be followed in the next 9 months. It is better if you eat something in every now and then. Avoid food from outside especially when it is diary products , greasy food, seafood, and any form of meat, because if they are uncooked or unpasteurized in case of diary products, there is a good chance of them carrying bacteria which might harm the fetus and its development. On the other hand, a restricted or malnutrition diet may produce many abnormalities in the child. Rickets, anemia and bow knee can be caused to the child due to a diet lacking in essential nutrients.
It is said to be wise to cut down or eliminate the intake of caffeine. Studies indicate that caffeine consumption of more than 2- 3 cups of coffee might put a pregnancy at risk. Less than that amount is probably safe. High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and, possibly, other pregnancy complications. Also caffeine is not limited to being the ingredient of only coffee. You would be surprised to know that green and black tea and soft drinks contain caffeine. So on the process of cutting down on coffee, make sure you eliminate all the other caffeine products too.
7. Heavy weights and heavy-impact exercises
Doctors advice against the carrying of any kind of heavy weight, let it be carrying your laundry basket down to the basement or a couple of bags of groceries from the super market. It is better not to risk your little fetus’s life in the process of doing any of these home chores in the next 9 months of your pregnancy. Carrying of anything heavy or doing one of the heavy-impact exercises during pregnancy can result in a miscarriage or sometimes cause considerable harm to the development of your unborn child.
Depending upon the advice of the gynecologist, a woman should avoid any kind of unusual and extra travel, especially the ones that involves buses and trains. Lay off work in the first trimester and last 8 weeks of pregnancy. The first trimester requires utmost care of the fetus as it has just been implanted. A lot of such cases have been reported where long travels lead to a miscarriage or abortion. So make sure when pregnant avoid all the unnecessary travel.
If you are one of those pregnant women residing in places with extreme weather conditions, you should probably research on how the temperature changes can effect the baby. Pregnant woman have to ensure that their body is not subjected to extreme heat or cold. The normal prescribed temperature a woman who is carrying is required to limit is 38.9°C (102°F). So she is advised to restrict any kind of activity or the usage of any material that might raise her body temperature above this. Hence, the usage of saunas, hot tubs, electric blankets, heating pads, hot long showers should be avoided. Fevers are risky for a pregnant woman, so genuine care must be taken to cool it off once it is discovered. In cases where the weather outside is too hot, find a cooler place to rest and cool down your body.The risk involved here for your little baby is that if your body temperature goes above that mentioned above for more than 10 minutes, the elevated heat can cause problems with the fetus. Overheating in the first trimester can lead to neural tube defects and miscarriage. Later in the pregnancy, it can lead to dehydration of the mother.
Smoking is injurious to all humans regardless of the person being an active or a passive smoker. So one can imagine its impact on a developing fetus.Basically, a cigarette is stick made of tobacco, which when smoked turns into tar in your lungs and what not. But the tobacco as a substance is harmful to developing fetuses as it has the tendency of lowering the baby’s weight at birth, and several other complications after its birth like the baby may not breathe properly on being born, not eat well, may have infections. There have been cases of infant deaths because the mother was subjected to passive smoking during her pregnancy, and the baby on being born was subjected to it too.
Alcohol is a strict no-no during pregnancy, because it is that one period of time in a woman’s life where she needs to filter out any kind of unhealthy activities she has ever adopted. Consumption of alcohol in large quantities risks the causation of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which will be explained later. This does not indicate that you can consume alcohol on a lower scale of intake. Coming to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, it is syndrome where the alcohol intake effects your fetus mentally and physically, causing your baby to develop with abnormalities. Effect of Alcohol is considered to be worse than the effect of recreational drugs on a fetus.
2. Physical Relationship
Pregnancy is most critical in its first trimester and the last 10 weeks. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so it is better to not have sex in this period of time. Severe complications may arise if due care is not taken. Apart from this physical relationship needs to be restricted upon the advise of the doctor, who shall ask for it only if he senses any form of complications developed in the pregnancy. A list is given below :
- if you have had a miscarriage in the past or a threat of it
- if you have had a pre-mature baby or a risk of it
- if there have been any occasion of unexpected vaginal bleeding, any other kind of discharge, or cramping
- leakage of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby)
- if you suffer from the condition where in the placenta is so low that it covers the cervix
- if you have conceived multiple fetuses like twins, triplets, etc
1. X rays and exposure to harmful radiations
A reputed American institution of medical association called the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) did their research and has inferred that X-rays are most likely safe during pregnancy. The X-rays that you require to do to diagnose something are said to emit less than 5 rads, which is technically the upper limit for the amount of radiation a woman can be exposed to while she is carrying. Like explained above, different types of imaging requires different amounts of radiation, so it varies. But in cases where the x-ray beam is required to be exposed to areas anywhere close to the fetus, like the woman’s stomach, uterus or lower back, it is advised not to go for it. So X-rays for your tooth, i.e., dental X-rays are a okay. But in case the X-ray is inevitable due to the respective medical condition you suffer from, you can go for it but just ensure your stomach is covered with a lead apron if your doctor insists you must go on with the X ray and cannot avoid it.