Taking Care of You and Your Baby While You’re Pregnant

Taking Care of You and Your Baby While You’re Pregnant

It’s important to take care of your baby, even before he or she is born. You can do this by living a healthy lifestyle and keeping doctor’s appointments while you’re pregnant. This is called prenatal care. You’re more likely to have a healthy birth if you maintain a healthy pregnancy.

How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

Talk to your doctor about this. It’s different for everyone, but most women should gain about 25 to 30 pounds. If you’re underweight when you get pregnant, you may need to gain more. If you are overweight, you may need to gain less.

What should I eat?

Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Be careful of the following foods and drinks during pregnancy.

Raw meat, eggs, and fish. Food that isn’t fully cooked can put you at risk for food poisoning. Don’t eat more than 2 or 3 servings of fish per week (including canned fish). Don’t eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. These fish have high levels of mercury, which can harm your baby. If you eat tuna, make sure it’s light tuna. Don’t eat more than 6 ounces of albacore tuna and tuna steaks per week. It’s safe to have 12 ounces of canned light tuna per week.

Fruit and vegetables.

Wash all produce before eating it. Keep cutting boards and dishes clean.

Eat 4 or more servings of dairy each day. This will give you enough calcium for you and your baby. Don’t drink unpasteurized milk or eat unpasteurized milk products. These may have bacteria that can cause infections. This includes soft cheeses such as Brie, feta, Camembert, and blue cheese, or Mexican-style cheeses, such as queso fresco.

Sugar substitutes.

Some artificial sweeteners are okay in moderation. These include aspartame (brand names: Equal or NutraSweet) and sucralose (brand name: Splenda). However, if you have phenylketonuria (PKU), avoid aspartame.

Don’t drink more than 1 or 2 cups of coffee or other drinks with caffeine each day.

Can I take medicine?

Check with your doctor before taking any medicine. This includes prescriptions, pain relievers, and over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can cause birth defects, especially if taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Can I take vitamins?

Pregnant women should take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day. It can help prevent problems with your baby’s brain and spine. Ask your doctor if you need more than 400 mcg.
It’s best to start taking folic acid before you get pregnant. You can get folic acid from taking a prenatal vitamin. You should take this every day. Don’t take other vitamins or supplements without your doctor’s approval.

How long can I keep working?

How late you work in pregnancy varies for each person. Your job and work environment play a big role. For instance, jobs that involve radiation, lead, and other materials—such as copper and mercury—can be harmful to your baby. If your job is active, you may not be able to work as long. Desk jobs aren’t thought to cause harm to your baby. However, you should not rest a computer on your stomach or uterus.
Your overall health also plays a part in how long you work. If you’re at risk of certain issues or preterm labor, you may be on bed rest and not able to work.

What about exercise?

Unless you have issues during pregnancy, you should get regular exercise. Exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle and can help ease discomfort. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Talk to your doctor about any conditions that may prevent exercise.
Some women say exercising while pregnant makes labor and delivery easier. Walking and swimming are great choices. If you were active before pregnancy, it is probably safe to continue. If you weren’t active before pregnancy, start slowly. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Drink plenty of water to prevent overheating or dehydration, especially in the second trimester. It’s best to avoid exercises that may cause you to fall. This includes skiing and rock climbing. You also should avoid contact sports, such as soccer or basketball. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns.
Call your doctor if you have symptoms with exercise, such as:

  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • stomach pain


Can I have sex?

It’s safe to have sex while you’re pregnant. However, talk to your doctor if you have concerns or are at risk for problems. Some women’s level of interest in sex changes when they’re pregnant. As you grow, you may need to try different positions, such as lying on your side or being on top.

What can I do to feel better?

Below are common side effects of pregnancy with tips on how to manage them.

Dr. Pooja Bansal
Gynecologist in Navi Mumbai

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