There are few bigger predictors for the success of a delivery and the health of a new baby than the quality of prenatal care. There are a number of factors that could negatively influence the health of a developing fetus, many of which are known by Obgyn doctors, but not given credence by pregnant women. Most mothers-to-be find that every person around them suddenly becomes an “expert” about pregnancy as soon as they reveal their conditions, and it can be hard to sort out the good advice from the bad advice. Here, we’ll look at some definitive biological truths in an effort to help mothers determine what counts in prenatal care.
What to Avoid
You’ve probably heard everything at this point. The woman down the street has told you not to eat peppermint patties. Your mother-in-law is sure that your fitness routine is harming the baby. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.) Here’s what you should be avoiding for real:
- Alcohol. We know you know, but we can’t see not saying. Binge drinking is especially dangerous to the baby and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, mental retardation, cleft lip, and cleft palate.
- Excessive vitamin A can cause defects in the head, heart, brain, and spinal cord. Vitamins in mass quantities are not your friend during pregnancy.
- The FDA and EPA encourage pregnant women to avoid certain fish that are likely to contain high amounts of mercury. Swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are the big culprits.
- Herbal tea. No really. Little data is available on the effects of specific herbs on developing babies, so unless your Virginia Beach OBGYN gives you the go-ahead, stay away.
What You Need
At your prenatal care visits to your women health services provider, you should be getting the rundown on what you should be proactively doing. Just in case, though, here are a few of the basics:
- Even before you got pregnant, about 3 months before to be exact, you should have been taking 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day to lower the risk of brain and spinal birth defects. If you missed the boat early on, it’s not too late to start.
- Eat enough, but not too much. When they say that you’re eating for two, that doesn’t mean you should double your calorie count. You should only gain between 25 and 35 pounds by the end of your pregnancy if you were not overweight to begin with.
- Eat a balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, protein, fats, fiber, calcium, and zinc.
- Prenatal care. It’s obvious, but that’s fine. Babies of moms without prenatal care from a qualified provider of health care for women are three times more likely to have a low birth weight.
Caring for your little one comes long before he or she makes the first appearance, which most popularly happens on Tuesdays and Mondays. Listen carefully to your prenatal care provider and make sure you’re following the instructions. Your precious baby is counting on you! Find out more about this topic here.