A Healthy Pregnancy and You
Every year in the U.S., there are approximately four million births.[i] And while having a baby is a very significant event for a woman, nearly half of the babies delivered in the country are a result of unintended pregnancies.[ii] Even for those women who plan on conceiving, they often do not find out they are pregnant until they are about four to six weeks into their pregnancy.
This May, also recognized as Pregnancy Awareness Month, I am dedicated to educating mothers-to-be about the importance of being prepared before, during and beyond pregnancy. Remember these three key rules to best prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
Check Your Grocery List
During pregnancy, a woman’s need for various nutrients will increase. It is essential to ensure you eat well-balanced meals. Sometimes, all the nutrients needed may not be met through diet alone. For example, public health authorities recommended that women should consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily – women may be able to meet these requirements through fortified foods, dietary supplements, or both.[iii]
To ensure you do consume the appropriate amounts of key nutrients, talk to your healthcare professional about taking a prenatal multivitamin. Generally speaking, women who plan on becoming pregnant should start taking a prenatal multivitamin three months before getting pregnant to have the necessary reserves for the baby’s needs and development.[iv]
Work with your healthcare professional to identify the ideal workout for you that gets your heart pumping! Exercise, which can be as simple as walking, during pregnancy has tremendous benefits for the mom-to-be; in fact the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Not only does exercising during pregnancy keep you healthy, but it keeps you limber, and prepares your muscles without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby.
Listen to Your Body and Talk to Your Healthcare Professional
We all know that morning sickness, or medically known as Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP), is common among pregnant women – up to 3.4 million mothers-to-be in the United States experience morning sickness.[v],[vi],[vii],[viii] Among those with morning sickness, more than 95% experience symptoms not just in the morning, but throughout all hours of the day.8
More often than not, pregnant women who experience morning sickness are left untreated and can have progression of their symptom severity.[ix] Be aware of your symptoms and understand that there are options designed especially to relieve your morning sickness. If you are experiencing morning sickness, the good news is there is a NVP treatment option available to manage morning sickness symptoms when diet or lifestyle changes fail.
So, You Are Expecting – What’s Next?
Whether you are planning on growing your family, or you are already expecting, it is important for all women to remember these three key rules to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Also, if you are planning on becoming pregnant, please consult your healthcare professional to evaluate whether to start taking a prenatal multivitamin and for an assessment of your overall health and your medical and family history.
For recipes, fitness tips and more information visit MorningSicknessUSA.com
Diana Ramos, MD, MPH, FACOG, is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist and adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor, at the Keck University of Southern California School of Medicine
Dr. Ramos is a paid member of Duchesnay USA’s Speaker Bureau.