Many women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant may think taking care of themselves during this time is relatively easy. They may believe they know what their eating habits should be, how much they should be exercising and other aspects of a healthy pregnancy, but there may be some finer details they’re not aware of. There are common mistakes many first-time expectant mothers make due to a lack of knowledge or misinformation. Thus, it’s crucial to be aware of the most common mistakes made during pregnancy and how to avoid them to ensure both mom and baby stay as healthy as possible.
Not Eating Enough Daily
Previous to pregnancy, a woman’s daily caloric intake should have been from 1,800 to two thousand calories daily. When a woman becomes pregnant, however, she’ll need about three hundred more calories daily to ensure the fetus grows and develops properly. Many women assume they need to eat double the amount of calories daily, but this is counterproductive to the health of the baby. Gaining an excess of weight while pregnant puts the mother at risk for gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, which can force a C-section during delivery. It also puts them at risk for other health issues after delivery. It’s better for expectant mothers to stick to three portion of nutritious foods daily such as fruit, green stocks, raw vegetables, nuts, and eggs. They should also stay hydrated to ensure hunger pangs are held at bay.
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While many individuals may think medicine is just antidepressants or other strong prescriptions medications, it’s even recommended for pregnant women to stop taking seemingly harmless medications and treatments. Antacids, ibuprofen, and acne creams are equally as harmful. Over-the-counter medicines and harsh beauty treatments can have adverse effects on pregnancy, including congenital abnormalities.
Pregnant women should only take pills their doctor prescribes them or recommends them to take, in the case of over-the-counter varieties. Any vitamins or supplements a doctor recommends are to help women meet the requirements of a healthy pregnancy. Women who experience any side effects from these, such as nausea, should speak with their doctor so they can recommend another brand. If a woman is experiencing acid reflux or headaches, she should seek advice from her doctor instead of self-medicating.
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Not Getting Enough Sleep
When pregnant, it’s important for women to get as much rest as they need. It typically does not matter what their workload was before they got pregnant, as they will still need to slow down to a certain extent. There are hormonal and physical changes that occur when a woman is pregnant and their body will be using more energy to handle everything, which means it requires rest.
Even if six or seven hours a night was sufficient before, a pregnant woman will need more than this. She’ll need to be fit to go through labor and delivery. Women should start by trying to get to bed earlier and wake up later. Naps are also helpful to get a little bit more sleep during the day to maintain sufficient energy. Power naps, including ones during a lunch break, are especially effective. With all of this said, women should make sure not to oversleep, as oversleeping can become a problem after the delivery if the baby has an erratic sleep schedule.
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Perhaps a woman didn’t like exercise prior to her pregnancy but it’s a necessary part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy. If women don’t exercise when pregnant, it can be very harmful to their body. Exercise will help boost circulation, prepare the body for the hard work of labor and delivery, as well as combat stress hormones.
Women who weren’t exercising before pregnancy should start as soon as possible. Walks after dinner and pregnancy yoga are two great ways to exercise. They can talk to a doctor if they don’t know where to start or what their limitations are. If a woman is working with a trainer, she should talk with them about creating a regimen that works for pregnancy. What is important to note is pregnant women should not put excessive pressure on their stomach muscles while working out. Also, they should not take on new workout challenges.
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Not Planning The Birth
While not all birth plans will go off without a hitch, it is important for pregnant women to have at least some idea of what they want their labor and delivery to be like. They should think about the details. Women who have previously given birth often say it’s very emotional. Expectant mothers will want to ensure their desires are met by choosing a clinic or hospital and a doctor that will meet their specific needs and desires. Ask questions!
Women should start by writing out a clear birth plan on what they want and how to meet their desires. Do you feel comfortable with your doctor currently or the hospital you’ll give birth in? If you don’t, inquire about other practitioners in the area. Do some research on the types of births available. Women looking for hypnobirthing or water birth should ask a nearby hospital for help administering this service.
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Not Getting Vaccines
One serious mistake expectant mothers can make is not getting the appropriate vaccines. Not only do vaccines protect women during pregnancy, but they also protect the baby from serious diseases. If a woman becomes ill during pregnancy, this will be shared with her child. Vaccinating during pregnancy confers early protection from diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states every pregnant woman should receive the flu and whooping cough vaccine during every pregnancy they have. They should also be up-to-date on vaccines like rubella, mumps, and measles prior to pregnancy. The Tdap vaccine is given to protect from whooping cough while pregnant. Certain vaccines, including the flu vaccine, can be administered either before or during pregnancy. Women should make sure to talk to their doctor about every vaccine they’re getting.
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Neglecting Core Muscles
Childbirth and pregnancy both have significant impacts on a woman’s abdominal muscles. As women carry a growing child around for nine months, they need to develop more strength in their core. The abdomen is also strained throughout the process of giving birth. By neglecting core muscles, giving birth becomes more difficult, and the recovery process after childbirth will also be more taxing. Another thing to keep in mind is how the stretching abdomen affects the muscles. The muscle fibers become lengthened and weaker during pregnancy. Women need to do exercises to keep them functioning normally. As the abdominal muscles push apart, there may be a noticeable and permanent gap between them.
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Giving In To Too Many Unhealthy Cravings
It’s natural to feel unusual cravings during pregnancy, and eating some junk food shouldn’t have a detrimental effect on mother or baby. But giving in to too many unhealthy cravings can make a woman’s pregnancy more uncomfortable. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes pregnancy cravings, but there are a few theories. Hormones may be to blame for some of it. Surging hormones create changes in the senses. Women might be wanting foods that are sweet or fit a certain sensory texture. Fulfilling cravings can also be emotionally fulfilling, especially when pregnancy hormones cause emotions to be all over the map. Since different foods affect everyone differently, women should always talk to a doctor about what they’re eating while pregnant.
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Suddenly Increasing Exercise Intensity
It is true expectant mothers should exercise during pregnancy to keep their muscles from becoming too weak. However, suddenly increasing exercise intensity can cause problems, such as tearing in the muscles. If pregnant women want to increase their exercise intensity, they should do so slowly and with professional guidance. Over the years, guidelines regarding pregnancy and exercise have changed considerably. There are some warning signs of exercise intolerance women should keep an eye out for throughout their pregnancy. If pregnant women feel dizziness, a headache, muscle weakness, shortness of breath before exercise, or swelling in their calves, it may be time to decrease the intensity. They should also be on the lookout for more serious symptoms like decreased fetal movement, vaginal bleeding, and amniotic fluid leakage.