Family - Pregnancy
By: - at July 4, 2013

Proper Care during Pregnancy

Laughing mother and babyNow that you know your baby is on the way, what are the things you should be most concerned about? Of course you are planning to give your baby the very best of care. This must begin from the day you realize that you are pregnant. In fact it should start long before you are even planning on having a baby. The better your general health, even before you are married, the healthier your child is likely to be. It is most important for you to keep yourself well nourished and well rested.

The first thing is to choose a good doctor, one in whom you can have implicit confidence. Even when this is not your first child, you can never tell whether or not some complications might arise. Consult your doctor as soon as possible, so that he may guide you through this important period of your life. Serious complications can often be avoided by taking these simple precautions.

How Much Exercise
Mother exercising with babyThe amount of exercise in which you can indulge will depend somewhat on your natural habits of life. If you have been an active person, you may continue your activities in a somewhat modified form. It is probably better not to swim, unless you are certain the water is absolutely clean, and not too cold. More vigorous exercise such as tennis and horseback riding could be harmful. Above all avoid exhaustion. Stop before you are too tired.

Light housework may be beneficial to you; provided you let others do the heavy lifting. But stop and rest awhile rather than allowing yourself to become overtired. If you are a working mother, you may wish to continue your job during pregnancy. This is all right, provided your doctor agrees. But be sure to take advantage of all the rest periods you can. And be sure to lie-down even for a few minute's rest.

Taking a good walk is an excellent tonic for the whole body. Begin with shorter walks, and gradually increase them. It is healthy to be outdoors as much as possible in the daytime to take advantage of some light sunlight and nature. Your bedroom should be well ventilated at night so as to create an environment that is conducive to sleep.

How Far Should You Travel?
Beach vacation get awayYour doctor is the best one to advise you on how far you should travel. Long car or bus trips may be very tiring. Severe emotional strain associated with strenuous travel that is full of stress and long layovers at airports might bring on a miscarriage, especially at certain times during your pregnancy. If you must take a car or bus trip, try to travel in easy stages. A sea voyage may be all right, provided the water is not too rough. Plane travel is usually the best means of transport, if you must go any distance. Train travel is also recommended, provided the tracks are not too rough.

During the last two months of pregnancy it is better for you to stay in your own town, where you can reach your doctor at any minute. The nearer you stay to the place of your confinement the wiser you will be.

Should You Smoke?
Most doctors will agree that heavy smoking during pregnancy is not wise. The smoke from one cigarette may speed up the heart of an unborn baby as much as 25% above its previous rate. A young mother should understand that tobacco contains certain poisons, some of which find their way into her blood stream when she inhales the smoke. It is far wiser not to smoke during pregnancy, and better still to give it up altogether.

The habit of using tobacco may be very hard to break. But there are ways in which you can help yourself. Any mother who really wants to give her baby the best chance for a healthy and happy life will find the necessary will-power to break this habit.

Will Alcohol Harm the Baby?
Alcohol drinksAlcohol places an added strain upon the mother's kidneys during pregnancy. It is therefore wiser to avoid all alcoholic drinks, even beer, not only for your own sake but also for the baby's health. The use of any powerful drug is likely to affect the baby to some extent, whether it is a sedative, a narcotic, or alcohol. During pregnancy the mother's kidneys are already under some additional strain due to the new requirements placed on the body during pregnancy. It is better to avoid all substances that might impair the delicate filtering units of the kidneys.

What about Sex?
Marital relations are permitted up until the last eight weeks of pregnancy. After that time there might be some danger of infection and perhaps premature labor. It is wise to avoid intercourse at those times when the regular menstrual periods would normally arrive. These are the times when miscarriages are more likely to occur. If there is the least little bit of suspicion of a miscarriage at any other time, intercourse should be avoided.

Care of the Bowels
It is important for you to keep your bowels regular during pregnancy. At least one movement should take place every day. If you are following a well balanced diet, you will probably be taking enough bulk in your foods to assure success in this respect. Large quantities of fruits and vegetables will help to keep you regular.

If you are having trouble with constipation you will find these foods especially helpful: dates, stewed fruits, baked apples, oranges, whole-wheat bread, green vegetables, oatmeal and cream.

Another important way to prevent constipation, or to cure the condition, is to develop regular habits of going to the toilet. In the morning, or immediately after breakfast are usually the best times. Don't strain. Instead try to drink a glass of warm water the moment you get up, or perhaps eat some fruit just before going to bed. Another way is to try using a little mineral oil. But remember, mineral oil absorbs important vitamins, so be careful with this. Do not take any laxative medicine except on your doctor's orders.

Take Care of Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are very important to your whole well-being, especially during pregnancy. That is why your doctor checks your urine so frequently. You should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or other liquids each day. Do not be surprised if in the early stage and also near the end of pregnancy there is a tendency to urinate more frequently. This is because at these times the uterus is pressing on the bladder, leaving less room for the urine. There is nothing abnormal about this. But if the urine is dark in color, or very scanty, or difficult to pass, you should meet your doctor at once.

Care of Your Teeth
tooth careDental decay is common during pregnancy. This may be because your diet is deficient and the baby is drawing on your supply of calcium. Or it may be that you have reached the time when teeth begin to decay. Whatever the cause, you should meet a good dentist as soon as you know for sure you are pregnant. If any dental work needs to be done, this is the time to have it done.

Take your usual daily bath. It should not be too hot or too cold. A shower or a sponge bath may be more practicable during the later months of pregnancy. Be careful not to slip. Use a bath mat or a towel to prevent accidents. Avoid tub baths during the last four weeks. Don't use any vaginal douches during pregnancy unless your doctor advises them.

Your clothing should be comfortable. No tight bands around the waist or legs at this time. Avoid any pressure over the breasts or abdomen. Don't worry too much about your figure. A sensible diet and plenty of exercise will keep your muscles in good trim. You may feel a bit awkward and ungainly at that time, but soon you will be back to your old self again. The right kind of exercises will help you, especially the exercise of pushing yourself away from the table before you have eaten too much!

You must take some precautions, but follow your normal routine as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Get Plenty of Rest: You should get at least 8 to 9 hours sleep each night, and if possible a short rest in the day. When you feel sleepy, go and take a short nap. You will feel much better afterward. Elevate your feet whenever you can.
  2. Keep Yourself Calm: Peace of mind is essential when you are carrying a baby. At this time it is easy for you to become rather excited, and then perhaps a bit depressed. Little incidents like that at other times would never bother you but they may greatly upset you during these months of pregnancy. Try to keep calm and easy going as much as possible. It will be better for the baby too if you can maintain a level of calm. Be careful not to listen to gossip and idle tales about childbirth. Most of these stories are based on superstition and a lack of information. If you have any questions talk them over with your doctor.

When to go to Hospital
Newborn infant sleepingYou should make your hospital arrangements well in advance. Your doctor may prefer to do this for you. If not, you should understand the rates for rooms and indicate your preference. Do not leave this to the last minute.

Some prefer a private room. Others are happier in a ward where there is plenty of company. It is all a matter of personal choice.

Labor usually begins with regular cramp-like pains that are felt low down in the back and abdomen. At first they may come on every 10 or 15 minutes, gradually becoming more intense and more frequent. With the early pains there may be some blood-tinged mucous discharge. Sometimes the "bag of water" ruptures before any other indication of labor.

Don't get into a panic
If this is your first baby, you will have plenty of time to go to the hospital. If there is any heavy bleeding, you should let your doctor know. If you already have several children, you will have a fair idea of when to go to the hospital. But in any case keep calm.

Don't be afraid of pregnancy or labor. It is a good idea to have your bags packed and ready several weeks in advance. This saves worrying over the details at the last minute. Remember that fear is your greatest enemy. Therefore the more you know about yourself, the less you will be afraid. Most women prefer to go through labor without any anesthetic. This is known as the natural method of childbirth. If you know how to relax during childbirth, you may not feel very much discomfort and have the joy of bringing your baby into the world the natural way.





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