Lifestyle during pregnancy
lifestyle-during-pregnancy

I. How can I safely choose medicines during pregnancy?

No medication is 100 percent safe, and even medication that's safe for someone else to take during pregnancy might not be safe for you. So always check with your healthcare provider before you take any kind of medicine during pregnancy.

II. Pregnancy and exercise

The exercise habits women have before they become pregnant will largely dictate whether they will engage in exercise during their pregnancy. Those women who are physically active and well informed about the benefits of exercise in pregnancy are likely to engage in a healthy exercise program until late gestation. Exercise in pregnancy is not only essential for women who are already active and want to maintain their fitness level, but also for women who have never exercised before. If you are physically inactive you make like to view your pregnancy as a perfect time to make a healthy change to your lifestyle by introducing an exercise program, with the help of your doctor.

III. Smoking

Women who are pregnant should avoid smoking and second hand smoke, due to the damage it can cause the unborn baby. It can also have long-term effects on the health of your child after birth.

IV. Take extra care of your teeth and gums

Brush and floss gently when you're pregnant as your gums can be more easily irritated. If you've had morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and avoid brushing your teeth straight away to reduce the effects of acid. When you visit the dentist, mention that you're pregnant.

V. Manage morning sickness

In addition to pregnancy, morning sickness can also impact on your lifestyle. There are helpful tips available to help reduce the frequency and severity of morning sickness symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Home treatment for morning sickness can include:
  • Changing what, when, and how much you eat.
  • Taking ginger or vitamin B6.
  • Avoiding foods and smells that make you feel sick.
If you have severe, persistent nausea and vomiting, see your doctor or nurse-midwife immediately. This uncommon complication of pregnancy can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, sometimes requiring prescribed medicine or hospitalization.

VI. Nutrition during pregnancy

1. Choose nutritious foods, not extra food
Energy requirements depend on a woman's size, weight and activity levels. If a woman had a BMI within the normal range (18.5-25kg/m2) and was maintaining her weight before pregnancy, then her energy requirement during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy will remain about the same as before pregnancy. She should continue to eat the same size meals as she did before pregnancy and definitely not increase her food intake and 'eat for two'. The Department of Health recommends an extra 200 kcals per day from food for the final three months only.1 Examples of food providing 200 kcals include:
  • Two slices of buttered bread.
  • A bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal with milk.
  • A bowl of lentil and tomato soup and a bread roll.
  • 1/2 chicken and salad sandwich.
2. Balance your diet
Base each meal on wholegrain starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or breakfast cereals and include:
  • 3 servings of milk, hard cheese or yogurt each day for calcium and iodine.
  • at least 1 vegetable and 1 fruit in both main meals and include fruit (fresh, canned or dried rather than juice) with breakfast.
  • meat, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses at 2-3 meals each day for iron
3. Eat fish twice a week
With one or two servings as oily fish for omega 3 fats, if you donít eat fish take a daily supplement of 200mg DHA but avoid fish liver oil supplements.
4. Choose nutritious snacks
  • Unsalted nuts with dried fruit.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Vegetable sticks (e.g. carrot, cucumber, pepper, baby corn) and dips based on yogurt, cream cheese or hummus.
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals with milk.
  • Cheese cubes and crackers or chapatti.
  • Sandwiches, bread rolls and pitta breads with fillings such as fish, egg, nut butters, cold meat along with salad or roasted vegetables.
  • French toast or toast with a range of spreads.
  • Slices of pizza with a plain dough base - not deep fried or pan fried.
  • Yogurt and fromage frais.
  • Crumpets, scones, currant buns, teacakes, scotch pancakes, fruit muffins.
  • Cakes and biscuits containing dried fruit, nuts or vegetables (e.g. fruit cake, carrot cake, date and walnut loaf).
5. Have about 6-8 drinks
(1.5 - 2 liters) per day for good hydration - water is a good choice. Limit caffeine to 200mg per day (about 1 shot of espresso or 2 mugs of instant coffee or 2.5 mugs of tea)
6. Precautions to take
  • Avoid Pate and unpasteurised milk products.
  • Only eat soft cheeses if they have been cooked (e.g. blue-veined cheeses and soft cheeses with a white rind).
  • Wash vegetables and salad thoroughly to remove any soil or dirt.
  • Cook eggs so that both the white and yolk are solid, avoid Raw or partially cooked eggs and foods containing them such as mayonnaise and mousse.
  • Heat ready meals to piping hot right through; heat once only and discard the leftovers.
  • Thoroughly cook all meat. Avoid Raw or undercooked meat.
  • Defrost poultry in the fridge and cook until piping hot right through. Avoid Undercooked poultry.
  • Wash hands after handling raw meat, fish or shellfish.
  • Wash hands after touching cats.
  • Wear rubber gloves when emptying cat litter trays or cleaning pets.
  • Wear gloves while gardening.
  • Don't help with lambing or milking ewes that have recently given birth.

VII. Hair dye

Is it ok to use hair dye during pregnancy? When you dye your hair, a small amount of the dye may enter your skin. The use of hair products before or during pregnancy is not thought to harm your baby or increase the risk of cancer during childhood. If you want to dye your hair:
  • Follow the package directions exactly as written.
  • Wear gloves when applying the hair dye.
  • Leave the dye on your hair as long as directed, not more.
  • Wash your head thoroughly after using the dye. Postpone any chemical hair treatment at least until the first trimester ends.

VIII. Working

Can I work during pregnancy? Sure you can. However, working during pregnancy is more challenging since you might get tired easily. To overcome fatigue:
  • Follow a healthy diet. Eat foods rich in iron and protein: Choose foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood, leafy green vegetables, iron-fortified whole-grain cereal and beans.
  • Take short, frequent breaks: Get up and move around for a few minutes to ease your muscle tension and prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. Spending a few minutes with the lights off, your eyes closed and your feet up also can help you recharge.
  • Keep up your fitness routine. Do exercises, especially if you sit at a desk all day.
  • Go to bed early, and try to get around eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Keep a water bottle at your desk or in your work area and sip throughout the day.

IX. To prevent back pain

1. Practice good posture
As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back - which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:
  • Stand up straight and tall.
  • Hold your chest high.
  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
  • Don't lock your knees.
Do not stand for a long period of time. If you must stand, support one of your feet up on a footrest or low stool and switch your feet frequently. Good posture also means sitting with care. Choose a chair that supports your back, or place a small pillow behind your lower back.
2. Get the right gear
Wear low-heeled - not flat - shoes with good arch support. Avoid high heels, which can further shift your balance forward and cause you to fall.
3. Lift properly
When lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don't bend at the waist or lift with your back. It's also important to know your limits. Ask for help if you need it.
4. Sleep on your side
Sleep on your side, not your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.

X. Travel

1. Is it okay to travel during pregnancy?
It is generally safe to travel at all times during your pregnancy if there are no complications or concerns. Just be sure to discuss air travel and extended trips with your doctor ahead of time. When traveling, it's also smart to carry a written record of your due date and any medical conditions you have.
2. Tips about Car travel
When traveling by car, remember the following: Wear your seat belt. The discomfort you may feel while putting the seat belt is much less than any discomfort caused by injury without it. Strap the lower belt across your lower lap/upper thighs. Run the shoulder belt between your breasts and up over your shoulder, not over your abdomen. Remove any excess slack in the seat belt.
  • Try to limit the amount of travel time to around four to six hours.
  • Stop frequently on the road every 2 hours to take short walks and stretch your body to keep your blood circulating.
  • If you are in a bus, remain seated while the bus is moving.
3. Tips about air travel?
In general, the safest time to travel is during your second trimester (18 to 24 weeks), when your risks for miscarriage and preterm labor are lowest. You can travel up to the eighth month. It is advisable to avoid travelling after 36 weeks and in the third trimester. It is better to remain close to your hospital for unexpected delivery or emergency.
  • If you're healthy, decreased air pressure in the airplane or the radiation at high altitudes are not likely to cause any harm to your baby.
  • If you have any medical problems, air travel during pregnancy might increase your risk for complications. Check with your doctor before you travel.
  • Do not travel alone. It's advised that you travel with at least one person.
  • Take a medical report about your pregnancy with you.
  • Choose an aisle seat if possible. This will make it easier to move around in the plane. A seat over the wing in the middle of the plane might give you the smoothest ride.
  • Wear your seat belt strap over your lower lap/upper thighs. When in flight, keep your seat belt fastened as much as possible in case of turbulence.
  • If possible, get up and try to walk every half an hour up and down the aisle. If you must remain seated, stretch your legs frequently to prevent pooling of blood.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have: bleeding, contractions, ruptured membranes, excessive swelling of your legs, headaches and visual problems.

References:

"Lifestyle during Pregnancy.' Pregnancy and Exercise, 30 Mar. 2017, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Lifestyle Tips during Pregnancy, Sept. 2014, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." 10 Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy, Feb. 2016, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Pregnancy: Dealing With Morning Sickness, 6 Aug. 2014, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Hair Treatment During Pregnancy, 4 Mar. 2017, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Working during Pregnancy: Do's and Don'ts, 15 Apr. 2017, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Back Pain during Pregnancy: 7 Tips for Relief, 5 Apr. 2016, "Lifestyle during Pregnancy." Travel During Pregnancy - Topic Overview,