Pregnancy causes a woman’s body to change in a lot of ways. The changes are both physical and mental. Some changes are temporary while others may be permanent. A lot of women suffer from prenatal anxiety. Prenatal anxiety is caused by a large no. of unanswered questions pertaining to a safe pregnancy.
Various aspects of pregnancy safety:-
Pregnancy can be completed without any major problems if a woman cautiously and wisely incorporates certain lifestyle changes. A lot of complications in the pregnancy can be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To ensure a safe and full term pregnancy the following aspects should be considered:
Food habits during pregnancy:-
Although doctors normally advise women to have a normal balanced diet, it is imperative to avoid certain types of food during pregnancy. During the first trimester when the fetal development is in its primitive stages, it is crucial to eat food that aid in the fetal development.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy:-
Pregnant women should not eat food that has not been stored properly. Especially in hot climates, food that has been left out the refrigerator even for half an hour should be avoided.
Raw meat or meat that has not been cooked properly can contain bacteria like E.coli, salmonella etc.
Raw eggs, uncooked or undone batters with egg in them, or products like mayonnaise should not be consumed. Whatever is consumed during pregnancy has direct implication on the health of the fetus.
Unpasteurized milk and milk products should be avoided. Sprouts seeds and legumes should not be eaten raw. Micro organisms can enter the seed of sprouts making them a potential cause for food poisoning.Fish caught in lakes and ponds may have ingested pollutants making them unfit for consumption.
Fruit and vegetable juices which are unpasteurized are again not advised.
Untreated and unfiltered water may contain traces of various metals which leach from the water pipes. Pregnant women must ensure that they only drink filtered water.
Effect of alcohol in pregnancy:-
Alcohol has hazardous effects during pregnancy both for mother and child. Alcohol dehydrates body, leaches oxygen from cells hampering development. The implications of alcohol in pregnancy have been directly linked to the fetal brain development and physical attributes.
Caffeine consumption during pregnancy:-
Many ladies who have habit of drinking tea or coffee may find it extremely difficult to kick the habit completely. It is advisable to slowly cut down on consumption of caffeinated beverages as sudden elimination may cause lack of energy, mood swings etc. To combat the change in amount of caffeine in body, women can exercise and eat regular and frequent meals.
Caffeine from tea or coffee have been linked to higher risk of miscarriage, higher chances of still birth and pre term labor.
Foods causing allergy:-
If there is a family history of a woman of any type of food allergy or the other child already is allergic to some type of food, the yet to be born child might also develop food allergies.
Consumption of extra calories:-
Contrary to popular belief, a lady does not need to eat twice the amount of food during pregnancy. The need for extra calories can be met by simply adding some foods to the regular diet. Excess of calories not only puts the mother’s health at risk but also increases the chances of the child to be overweight in future. If with progression of pregnancy, physical activity drops, the extra calories are not required.
Exercise during pregnancy:-
As it is widely known, exercising during pregnancy, when done under supervision and with caution, has many advantages. Regular exercise can help a woman have a comparatively smooth labor, build muscle strength, and in some cases prevent the gestational diabetes.
Though exercising is recommended in moderation, there are several other precautionary measures that should be kept in mind:-
- The heart rate should be closely monitored and should not be allowed to exceed 140 pm.
- Any exercise involving breathing pauses should be avoided.
- Any form of exercise involving high intensity jumping, twisting etc. should not be done.
- After first trimester, being on one side for than three minutes can cause dizziness.
- Special care of ligaments and joints should be taken as the increasing unequal distribution of weight puts pressure on the joints.
Who should not exercise during pregnancy:-
Women who have breathing condition like asthma or medical condition like heart diseases.
Also, those who have had a history of premature labor, or recurring miscarriages should only exercise after consultation with a doctor. The key is to not burden the body and to put undue strain on it.
Safety during pregnancy can only be ensured if well thought out changes are inculcated. It is always advisable to consult a doctor if any symptom is experienced. Also, it is encouraged to make an effort to live and eat healthy and continue with moderate physical activity to have a smooth pregnancy and delivery.