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How to be healthy when expecting

Photo KATV

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but sometimes new mothers don't know what they need to do to stay healthy during this season of time.

Dr. Win Hammerly, Chief Medical Officer at QualChoice offers advice to expecting moms.

Those key points are:

1. How to prevent potential problems during pregnancy.

• Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent major birth defects. Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy.

• Stop smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants.

• Stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy. When you drink alcohol, so does your developing baby.

• Get vaccinated. Vaccines help protect you and your baby against serious diseases. CDC recommends you get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your developing baby.

• Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for your baby.

• Existing high blood pressure can increase your risk of problems during pregnancy.

2. Be physically active.

• Pregnancy might seem like the perfect time to sit back and relax. But unless you're experiencing complications, sitting around won't help.

• Exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare for labor and delivery reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling, Boost your mood and energy levels, Help you sleep better, Prevent excess weight gain, Promote muscle tone, strength and endurance.

• Exercise during pregnancy might also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.

• Healthy women should get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, during and after their pregnancy.

3. Eat Healthy.

• Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.

• Grains provide essential carbohydrates, your body's main source of energy.

• Fruits and vegetables are critical components of pregnancy nutrition, since they provide various vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to aid digestion.

• Foods in this group have plenty of protein, as well as B vitamins and iron. Protein is crucial for your baby's growth.

• The calcium in dairy products and calcium-fortified soy milk helps build your baby's bones and teeth.

4. Things to Think About Before Baby Arrives.

• Prenatal Screening. Prenatal tests give you information about your and your baby’s health. Screening helps detect any problems that could affect your baby, like birth defects or genetic diseases. The results can help you make the best health care decisions before and after your child is born.

• If you're planning a cesarean delivery, be prepared to take it easy during the recovery time. It could take up to six week to fully heal from surgery.

• Should you breastfeed? You and your baby gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Breast milk is easy to digest and has antibodies that can protect your baby from bacterial and viral infections.

5. Plan for Newborn PCP Visits

• Your baby should have regular visits with a Primary Care Provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 8 physical exams in the first 15 months of life. Follow your PCP’s instructions regarding the frequency of visits.

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