Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s time to fill up on some guidelines to support your developing baby’s safe journey.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey – from the little moments of your developing baby’s first flutters or kicks to the excitement of giving birth, these experiences all make up a remarkable chapter within your life.
Nevertheless, pregnancy, especially for first-time mums, can be intimidating with factors such as diet restrictions, or the changes in your body. However, these changes are the sacrifices you must make to ensure a safe space for your developing baby as he or she develops within your womb.
Ultimately, caring for yourself properly during pregnancy is the key to your developing baby’s health. We know many soon-to-be parents will have questions and concerns, so here are some pregnancy tips and do’s and don’ts to take note of during your pregnancy.
What you should do:
1. Book your first doctor appointment
After taking an at-home pregnancy test, you might be at the verge of wanting to celebrate. Before you do that, it is advisable to call your doctor first and set an appointment – pregnant mummies in Malaysia are expected to register for antenatal check-ups before their 12th week of pregnancy. We recommend contacting your doctor as soon as you can to assess your health and confirm your pregnancy.
During your first visit, the doctor will check your overall health with a physical exam, as well as predict your due date. General information and various other details, including your ethnic group is also taken down to identify any cultural practices during pregnancy. They will also ask about your family or medical history and any previous pregnancy experiences.
Additionally, screening tests such as urine and blood samples will be taken for your doctor to check for conditions, including bladder infections or your sugar levels.
2. Take your prenatal supplements
After your assessment, you will be prescribed prenatal vitamins based on your checkup results – this is why keeping up with your appointments is crucial as your doctor will track the health of your pregnancy closely, and prescribe the care you need to support your developing baby’s optimal growth.
Among the common prenatal supplements for expectant mothers are folic acid, which reduces the risk of fetal neural tube defects such as spina bifida, as well as iron to support your growing baby’s brain development and maintain the supply of oxygen. Meanwhile, these prenatal supplements are also equally important:
- Calcium: As your body is unable to produce calcium, you will need to get it from supplements or high calcium foods such as milk and dairy products. Calcium is important for your developing baby’s bone and teeth formation. It also reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia.
- Essential fatty acids (omega-3, DHA, EPA): This is for brain and nerve development. Moreover, according to the American Pregnancy Association, studies show that higher consumption of Omega-3 may reduce the risk of preterm labour and delivery, thus lowering the risk preeclampsia.
- Vitamin D: This is beneficial for a mother’s health as it supports the immune system, healthy cell division and bone health. It is imperative to support your developing baby’s bone development.
3. Try to exercise regularly
Did you know that exercising for expectant mothers can actually benefit their pregnancy? According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, women who are active and fit during pregnancy are likely to adapt better with changes within their body, as well as reduce the risk of problems within later pregnancy or during labour – exercise actually helps your body prepare your body for birth as strong muscles and a fit heart can ease your delivery!
Moreover, exercising releases endorphins to make you feel better overall, relieve backaches, improve your posture, promote better sleep, and reduce constipation. But, be sure to ease down as your pregnancy progresses. We recommend consulting your doctor further on the types of exercise your pregnancy can handle.
4. Eat a balanced and healthy diet
Eating healthily for pregnant women is consuming a balanced and varied diet. John Hopkins Medicine states that expectant women should consume 300 extra calories daily for a healthy pregnancy from protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains – keeping to a healthy diet can ease common pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation.
Here are some foods to include during pregnancy:
- Vegetables (for vitamin A and potassium): carrots, cooked greens, spinach, sweet potatoes.
- Fruits (for potassium): bananas, honeydew, mangoes, oranges, tomatoes.
- Dairy (for calcium, potassium, vitamin A and Vitamin D): maternal milk, soymilk, fat-free or low-fat yoghurt.
- Grains (for iron and folic acid): ready-to-eat cereal.
- Protein (for amino acids): lean beef, lamb, salmon, nuts, seeds.
5. Eliminate exposure to toxins
Throughout pregnancy, you will hear various advice on what to avoid, and this may include the regular products you use. Some of this may ring true. In fact, a 2019 study from Sweden revealed that certain chemicals can be absorbed through a mother’s skin and cause interference with hormone activity, therefore affecting the developing baby’s brain development.
However, this subject is not commonly discussed in doctors’ office, but generally, you should avoid certain toxins during pregnancy. There are some toxins to limit exposure to as listed by UTSouthwestern Medical Centre which is pet medication, animal waste, cigarette smoke, vape smoke, lead, cleaning products (use rubber gloves if needed) and BPA.
6. Listen to your body
One of the final and most important pregnancy tips we have is to listen to your body – everyone’s pregnancy is different! While you may seek advice from friends or family, know that some circumstances may differ because no pregnancy is exactly the same.
If your body does not feel right or you are experiencing pain, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Remember, your body is your developing baby’s safe haven, which is why keeping your doctor’s checks is extremely crucial to monitor the health of you and your developing baby.
What not to do during pregnancy
Now that we have an understanding of what to do during pregnancy, here are some quick pregnancy tips on what you should avoid:
- Avoid raw meat: Stay away from uncooked food such as sushi, oysters, clams, undercooked beef or poultry. These meats may be contaminated with toxoplasmosis or salmonella.
- Stay away from raw eggs: Raw eggs may also contain salmonella. Make sure to check your foods before you eat – salad dressings such as hollandaise or mayonnaise may contain raw egg.
- Avoid bathing in hot water: Keep your body temperature below 102.2°F (39°C). An increase in body temperature during the first trimester can lead to birth defects. So, avoid hot baths, especially during early pregnancy, and try a warm bath instead.
- No smoking: Smoking has a harmful effect on the developing baby and may pose a risk of miscarriage, premature separation of the placenta, premature birth and low birth weight.
- Avoid alcohol: Consuming alcohol may cause behavioural and learning difficulties with your baby. In large amounts, it can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which has negative effects including congenital malformations and mental retardation.
Track your pregnancy with Enfamama A+ Club Mobile app
Pregnancy goes through different stages and with every trimester your body changes and your developing baby grows more. Hence, one of the most important tips is to track your pregnancy. While you may have your doctor appointments scheduled, tracking your growing baby’s development can help your doctor understand your pregnancy better.
In addition to that, tracking your growing baby’s development during pregnancy puts your mind at ease as well because we know how worrisome mummies can get! Thankfully, these days, there are easy ways to track your pregnancy progress such as using Enfamama A+ Club Mobile App.
With Enfamama A+ Club Mobile App, expectant mums can track their pregnancy throughout the first, second and third trimester. The app tailors your pregnancy journey through features such as personalised guidance, pregnancy tips, fetal developmental and growth tracking.
What’s even better is that you can view all of Enfamama A+ exclusive offers and save more with their Mead Johnson Nutrition flagship store promotions.
So, are you ready for your pregnancy journey? Learn more about Enfamama A+ Club Mobile App here and download it today.
Keen to try out Enfamama A+? Sign up for a free sample and join the Enfamama A+ Club for more support!
*For adult pregnant and locating females, the minimum intake for optimal adult health and fetal and child development is 300mg/d EPA+DHA, of which at least 200mg/d should be DHA. Reference: FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91, FAO: Rome.
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