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Antenatal Care: 5 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

antenatal care

If you ask a mom what is the most difficult phase of pregnancy, it might not be before or after pregnancy but during pregnancy. Yes, the real struggle is when you are about to give birth as it is the phase that makes a woman as well as her kid more vulnerable to infections and health problems. This is why experts also recommend proper antenatal care to reduce the risks to the mother as well as the fetus during pregnancy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 830 women die every day because of issues related to childbirth or pregnancy[1]. However, with simple antenatal care and support, these probable health threats can be determined and prevented. Moreover, with proper diagnosis and screening, the risk of various health complications can also be minimized. So if you are a new mom and are looking for some simple tips during pregnancy, then here are few antenatal care tips you must follow to ensure your and your baby’s healthy future.

Tips For Effective Antenatal Care

1. Have A Nutritious Diet

The role of diet in keeping the mother and baby shall never be underestimated. A healthy and balanced diet not only provides all the essential nutrients for the growth and development of the baby but also takes care of your nutritional needs during pregnancy. Consult a dietician and follow a healthy diet as you have to build an immune system for two people during pregnancy. Include more of home cooked food and avoid intake of raw vegetables as it can increase the risk of infection. Also, say no to oily and spicy food as it can worsen digestive problems, which are common during pregnancy.

Most nutritionists recommend that one should increase the caloric intake by 500 calories more during pregnancy in addition to their normal caloric intake of 2000 – 2400 calories. You do not have to double your intake of nutrients. If you are a part of the undernourished population[2], do up your protein intake along with carbohydrates for overall nourishment.

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2. Go For Regular Screening

The first and the foremost antenatal tip is to get a regular screening of your as well as your baby’s health[3]. This is a very important step as it can help you identify any minor complication which if unattended can create major problems during childbirth or delivery. So it is wise to not miss even a single screening test during pregnancy as these are the golden days for your baby and you.

For example, through periodic screening and regular health checkups, you can diagnose and treat conditions such as hypertension or diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. These conditions if not detected at the right time can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage and premature delivery. Moreover, it can also increase the risk of health complications such as diabetes in the mother in the near future.

3. Do Not Forget Vital Vitamins

It is always a good habit to get antenatal vitamin supplements along with a healthy diet for better growth of your child. If your diet fails to meet your nutritional requirements during pregnancy, then taking supplements is not a bad idea. However, it is best to consult a doctor and take supplements only after your doctor recommends to do so. Also, the type of supplements and the dosage of these supplements should be well monitored and hence, expert advice is important. Some of the commonly prescribed supplements during pregnancy include iron supplements, folic acid, Vitamin B 12, and multivitamins. This is because supplementation can help you to conditions such as anemia and neural tube defects.

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4. Join Antenatal Classes

Joining antenatal classes can provide assistance and counseling about every phase of pregnancy in details and help you deal with the associated health problems. Additionally, you can get practical tips for child development as well as pre and post delivery consideration through a group of other expectant parents. Thus, with proper care and caution during your pregnancy, you can ensure a safe future for your baby and avoid any complications with an on-time diagnosis of complications. Also, these classes can help you with tips to stay active during pregnancy with yoga classes and exercises which can improve the overall health of the baby and mother. You can even ask your gynecologist to help you out with this if you have any queries in this regard.

Benefits of Antenatal Care

-Easy tracking of baby’s development enables you to organize your diet and exercising schedule according to your baby’s development.

-Advanced knowledge of labor and delivery helps in reducing mother’s trauma during delivery and reduces the chances of diseases like pregnancy-associated hypertension.

-Timely nutritional information provided by the doctor helps you to ensure the health of mother and baby[4].

-You get accurate insights and information on birthing options, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn. Thus, you can take appropriate care during pregnancy, labor as well as post-delivery.

-Awareness regarding the entire birthing process prepares the parents mentally as well as physically for the childbirth to avoid panicking.

Thus, through timely and proper antenatal care a pregnant woman can lower her risk of diseases and avoid complications. In order to take proper precautions, you should consult your doctor and devise a proper check-up schedule. You can also join antenatal classes near as it can help you deal with queries/problems during pregnancy. But do consult your doctor before joining one. Remember, timely screening, nutritional diet and proper precautions are the three essential aspects for an expecting mother to secure baby’s mental and physical health.  

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

Recommended Reads:

Medical Tests That Are A Must During Pregnancy

Diet Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy: Foods To Eat And Avoid

References:

1. Maternal mortality [Internet]. World Health Organization. 2018 [cited 4 August 2018].

2. WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2016.

3. Kitchen FL, Jack BW. Prenatal Screening. [Updated 2019 Mar 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan. 

4. Preconception care: Maximizing the gains for maternal and child health [Internet]. Who.int. 2013 [cited 6 August 2018]. 

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