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Checklist for a healthy pregnancy

Increase your chances of having a safe and healthy pregnancy

Posted: 19 August 2009
by Laura Lee Davies

Although there are some unforeseen health problems in pregnancy which are beyond our control, there are some potential problems such as high blood pressure, swelling, aches and pains, or problem births, which we can try to avoid through good health and well-being habits.

Know more about your own health
Before you start trying for a baby, or when you first discover you are pregnant, think about any long-standing health issues you might have. Talk to your doctor about these because many conditions can now be managed perfectly safely through pregnancy. This will also put your mind at rest.
Think about your gynaecological history. Getting any previous problems ruled out or re-checked can be a good thing.
Bear in mind that from your first (dating) scan onwards, some conditions like fibroids can be monitored and discussed with you as your pregnancy progresses.

Feeling fit and healthy
Whilst it is true that women who are excessively fat or thin can find it more difficult to conceive, once you are pregnant, intense dieting is not a good idea.
Instead, staying active and eating well are important during pregnancy. Many women do feel even more conscious about their weight once they are carrying a bump, and being unfit and overweight can affect things like back problems and your mobility during birth, as well as the speed of your recovery.
However, it is important to feel positive during pregnancy so don't let your weight become a major worry and instead see the chance to eat well – healthier snacks and good general diet and nutrition - as a project rather than a chore.
Find out more about your changing shape so you don't feel bad when your clothes no longer fit! And be aware of what weight gain you can expect as part of a regular pregnancy.
Make sure you are aware of what exercise is safe during pregnancy.

Cutting out smoking and alcohol
There is a lot of research which supports the idea that it makes a big health difference if you stop smoking when you are expecting.
Although many doctors still feel the occasional unit of alcohol in pregnancy is OK, the latest official message is to completely cut it out, in order not to confuse mothers-to-be with a mixed message.

Be aware of how your job affects you
If you do a job which may cause a health hazard to you or your unborn baby you are entitled to ask for your role to change during your pregnancy.
For more about potential pregnancy hazards in your workplace, go to the Health and Safety executive.

See your doctor if you are concerned about anything
Many pregnant women think that they cannot take any medication during pregnancy and therefore do not get illnesses checked out. However, if an infection does not clear up properly it is very dangerous. There are some medicines and antibiotics that are safe when you are expecting. So make sure you see your GP or speak to your midwife team if you are worried about anything or feel unwell.

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Discuss this story

I'm scared. My first son has Spina Bifida, if I have another child will it have problems aswell?

Posted: 29/12/2007 at 00:40

my first son also has spina bifida and I am now pregnant but only 5 weeks. Of course, it is only natural be to worried but I have been told that as long as you have been taking folic acid well before you conceive then hopefully this will lesson the risk of another child having spina bifida. My son is the best thing that ever happened to me and I wouldnt swap him for the world. I am sure that you are the same. I have had 3 miscarriages in a row and an now pregnant again, luckily for me I dont seem to have a problem conceiving.

 My other half thinks that surely if you already have a child with spina bifida then there is a less chance of having another but I am not sure.  The main thing is that we cannot pick and chose what happens to our babies we can only hope that there are no complications. The best of luck.

Posted: 23/05/2008 at 12:57

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