Prenatal Health Do’s and Don’ts
Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting mothers. The prenatal period of time starts before birth when you become pregnant, and it is an important time in your life and your new baby’s life. There are many questions during this time about what to name your baby, finding out if it is a boy or a girl, and wondering what they will look like. Before your little bundle of joy arrives, you’re responsible for helping them grow in a nurturing, healthy environment. There are some pregnancy do’s and pregnancy don’ts to be aware of to give your baby the best environment to grow and develop.
This list of pregnancy do’s and don’ts can shed some light on what you should worry about — and what you really shouldn’t fret over.
Pregnancy Do’s During Prenatal
Some pregnancy do’s and things you can do during pregnancy are to eat a healthy diet, take multivitamins, drink lots of water, practice good sleep habits, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It is also important to schedule regular prenatal doctor visits throughout your pregnancy. Regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy helps to catch potential concerns early and reduces the risk of pregnancy and birth complications. As soon as you suspect you are pregnant, make an appointment with your medical provider or OB/GYN.
Can You Take Multivitamins During Pregnancy?
Eating a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals is the best way to provide your body with all of the healthy nutrients it needs to support a growing baby. A healthy diet alone, however, may not be enough for pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins — also called pregnancy multivitamins — contain higher levels of certain nutrients that expectant mothers require at higher doses, such as:
- Folic Acid
These vitamins assist with the proper development of the fetus and help prevent birth defects. Your doctor can help you find a multivitamin or a series of vitamins that are best for you.
A multivitamin will usually include DHA, EPA, or both. These are omega-3 fats that are important for your baby’s proper brain development.
Don’t take more than one dose of multivitamins, though. Some vitamins in higher amounts can be harmful to the baby. Speak with your doctor during a prenatal checkup to see what multivitamins are best for you and your baby.
How Much Should an Expectant Mother Sleep?
Changing hormone levels, anticipation, and anxiety can make sleep elusive during your 9 months of pregnancy. Pregnancy is demanding, especially in the final trimester, and you’ll need your sleep.
Take a quick snooze if you feel tired and schedule naps whenever you can. Set bedtimes and stick to them.
Aim for 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night. Fatigue is a sign that your body needs more rest, so give yourself all the sleep you can. If you are having issues sleeping, schedule a prenatal doctor visit and speak with your care provider.
Is it OK to Exercise While Pregnant?
Yes, you can exercise during pregnancy unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Gone are the days of pregnant women avoiding lifting a finger during their pregnancies: We now know that exercise is good for Mom and the baby.
In fact, regular exercise may help you combat many of the issues that arise during pregnancy, including:
- Muscle Pain
- Excessive Weight Gain
- Mood Problems
If you regularly exercised before you became pregnant, keep it up. Talk with your doctor about any adjustments you should make to your routine, especially as you move into your second and third trimesters.
If you didn’t exercise regularly before you found out you were expecting, ask your doctor about incorporating a fitness routine into your day. They can guide you into a program that’s safe and comfortable for you and your growing baby.
Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?
Sex during pregnancy is fine, as long as you don’t have a complicating factor such as placenta previa or another type of high-risk pregnancy.
Sex is safe with your partner right up until your water breaks. If you have discomfort you may have to try new positions. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about the safety of intercourse during your pregnancy.
Is the Flu Shot Safe During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women can and should get a flu vaccine as long as they don’t have a contraindication as noted by the manufacturer.
The injection isn’t a live virus. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. If you were to contract influenza during your pregnancy, the risk of severe side effects is greater than in women of the same age who aren’t pregnant.
The vaccine will protect you as well as your developing fetus.
Visiting the Dentist While Pregnant
Trips to the dentist’s office were avoided for decades by expecting mothers for fear that an oral cleaning might cause bacteria to spread and lead to an infection. Now we know that’s just not the case.
In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that expectant mothers have a routine oral health assessment while pregnant, along with regular dental cleanings. Be sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy Dont’s During Prenatal
There are some pregnancy don’ts when you are pregnant. Creating a nurturing, healthy environment for your baby to grow means there are some things that need to be avoided during pregnancy such as consuming alcohol, smoking tobacco, eating raw or undercooked meats, drinking unpasteurized milk, and getting in hot tubs or saunas.
Is it OK to Smoke During Pregnancy?
Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a lower birth weight and are at a greater risk for learning disabilities than children born to nonsmoking mothers.
Additionally, children born to women who smoke are more likely to try smoking at a younger age and become regular smokers earlier, due to physiologic nicotine addiction.
If you are a smoker, it is best to stop smoking as soon as you become aware that you are pregnant. This is a great time to make a permanent smoking cessation plan, including others who will live in the home with the baby once it is born. If you need help stopping smoking, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you get help, the healthier your baby is likely to be.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Pregnant?
Alcohol may greatly impact your baby’s development. People who drink alcohol while pregnant could deliver a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Symptoms of FAS include:
- Low Birth Weight
- Learning Disabilities
- Behavior Problems
- Lagging patterns in terms of growth and development milestones
Even small amounts of alcohol can be a problem. There appears to be no safe level of alcohol intake in pregnancy.
Eating Raw Meat During Pregnancy
Raw and undercooked meat and eggs carry the risk of foodborne illness, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. Food poisoning is also a possibility.
These conditions can cause serious, life-threatening illnesses that could lead to severe birth defects and even miscarriage. Make sure all eggs and meat that you eat while pregnant are well-cooked. Avoid:
- Raw Meats
- Rare Meats
- Raw eggs (also in mayonnaise)
Don’t Eat or Drink Unpasteurized Milk Products
Calcium is very important for growing babies, but moms have to be careful how they get their calcium from dairy.
Raw milk isn’t recommended for expecting mothers since it’s unpasteurized. This means it hasn’t been heated to kill bacteria that could make you ill.
Specifically, raw milk may contain the bacteria Listeria. It can lead to illness, miscarriage, or even life-threatening consequences. Be sure to avoid:
- Soft Cheeses (such as feta & brie)
- Unpasteurized milk
Are Hot Tubs and Saunas OK During Pregnancy?
Unfortunately, no. Though relaxing, the high-heat environment of hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and saunas may be too dangerous for expecting mothers.
In fact, research suggests that using one of these during your first trimester may double your risk of miscarriage. Soaking in hot water can raise body temperature and this causes problems with the baby including increasing the risk of birth defects.
Prenatal Care Wichita & Scheduling A Prenatal Doctor Visit
Scheduling a Prenatal Care Visit
The first prenatal care visit usually takes place in the second month of pregnancy, between week 6 and week 8. It is important to schedule a prenatal doctor visit as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant and have taken a pregnancy test.
During pregnancy, regular checkups are very important. This consistent care can help keep you and your baby healthy, spot problems if they occur, and prevent problems during delivery. Typically, routine checkups occur:
- Once each month for weeks four through 28
- Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
- Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
Women with high-risk pregnancies need to see their doctors more often.
Prenatal Care Doctors in Wichita
HealthCore Clinic is located in Wichita just east of Hillside on 21st Street. Our prenatal care team includes OB-GYN Care, Family Medicine providers, Wesley Family Medicine residents, and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM). We offer comprehensive checkups throughout your pregnancy to help keep you and your future baby healthy.
In addition to our experienced and caring nursing staff, some of the services we offer as part of our prenatal care include:
- In-House Ultrasound Available
- Discounted Fees for Self-Pay
- Insurance Application Assistance
- Routine Behavioral Health Consultations
- Baby Talk Education Classes
- Newborn Care
We offer Baby Talk and Healthy Babies classes, in partnership with March of Dimes, Sedgwick County Health Department, and KU School of Medicine – Wichita Department of Pediatrics. Baby Talk Education classes have prizes for attendees such as supplies and clothing for babies.