There are many different ways expectant mothers can help ensure their baby’s health throughout the pregnancy—eating healthy, exercising and knowing the right questions to ask your doctor.
6 Ways to Keep Your Baby Healthy During Pregnancy
In a perfect world, one item that would never need to be on the list of things expectant mothers worry about is birth injuries. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend the entire nine months worrying about what could go wrong.
There are things you can do to take charge of your health when you are pregnant and different strategies you can use to monitor your baby’s health. So, if something feels off, you will know.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
From the moment you become pregnant until you deliver your beautiful child, your body will be providing all of the nutrients your child needs to grow healthy and strong.
One of the simplest ways for you to ensure your baby is healthy and prevent birth injuries is to take care of your diet:
- Eat foods that are high in omega-3 like fish
- Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily
- Limit the amount of caffeine you consume
The downside of being the sole provider for your baby is that almost everything you consume, or every illness you catch, can work its way into your child. This means you should avoid harmful substances like alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. It also means you should get your flu shot and speak to your doctor about any medications or vitamins you may be taking.
2. Practice Self-Care
While it can be tempting to focus solely on your unborn child, pregnancy is a great time to start practicing self-care. There are many different forms of self-care, including:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water
- Taking neonatal vitamins
- Exercising, which includes practicing Kegels
There is more to self-care than just ensuring you are in good physical health. It’s also essential to find healthy ways to manage stress like going for a massage or walk, pursuing hobbies, listening to music, or heading to the gym or national park.
It’s also important to pay attention to your emotions. Between 10 and 20 percent of pregnant women experience symptoms of depression. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you feel unusually sleepy, sad, angry, guilty or uninterested in the activities you usually enjoy.
3. Inform Your Doctor of Existing Medical Conditions and Symptoms
While this might come up when you are speaking to your doctor about the medications and vitamins you’re taking, if it doesn’t you should also inform your doctor of existing medical conditions. This includes diabetes, hypertension, obesity and autoimmune disorders.
Doctors need this information to know what to expect during your pregnancy so they can do everything they can to prevent birth injuries.
4. Undergo Monitoring and Checkups
Another way for you to monitor your baby’s health is by scheduling and keeping regular prenatal checkups. It’s also important that your child is regularly monitored throughout labor and delivery.
Some of the tests your doctor may recommend to help prevent birth injuries are:
- Ultrasounds to examine the back of the child’s neck for increased fluid or thickening, monitor blood flow patterns and fetal growth, and track the amount of amniotic fluid
- Genetic tests to screen for chromosome abnormality
- Glucose tests to check for gestational diabetes
- Group B Streptococcus test
5. Track Symptoms and Report Changes
Expectant mothers can ensure their own and their baby’s wellbeing by paying attention to their health. Keep track of any changes in a journal to help you notice anything that’s off. This way, if your baby starts moving less than usual, you will know.
6. Research Your Medical Team and Hospital
Take time to research your medical team so you can find ones who are experienced in obstetrics and perinatology. When you meet with them, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they handle birth complications, what their experience is with complications and what tests they plan to run.
A birth injury is a devastating event, and mothers should know it’s not their fault. Many birth injuries are the result of medical negligence, for which you have legal rights. Take some time to learn more about medical negligence and how it causes birth injuries. Contact the Birth Injury Justice Center to have your case reviewed.