If you’re wondering about healthy eating, which pregnancy supplements to take, or whether you should be sleeping on your back, this guide is for you.
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Disclaimer: All information provided in these FAQ’s is presented for educational purposes only. We believe that the information published is accurate but is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek the help of a qualified doctor if you have any health concerns. We offer these FAQ’s and the information contained herein without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and Beauty Mums & Babies (BMB) is not liable for its accuracy, mistakes, errors or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on information obtained from these FAQs.
Weight gain in pregnancies varies from person to person. It also depends on your weight before you become pregnant.
Most pregnant women gain between 10kg and 12.5kg (22lb to 26lb), putting on most of the weight after week 20. Much of the extra weight is due to your baby growing, but your body will also be storing fat, ready to make breast milk after your baby is born.
Putting on too much or too little weight while you’re pregnant can lead to health problems for you or your unborn baby. But don’t worry, it’s easy to make healthy food choices.Read more
You’ll get most of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy, varied diet. But when you’re pregnant (and while you are trying to get pregnant) you also need to take a folic acid supplement.
Also, because we’re indoors a lot of the time, we might not be getting enough vitamin D from sunshine. You should consider taking a vitamin D supplement – available from most pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers. You just need 10 micrograms a day.
Along with the vitamins you should take, there are also some to watch out for and avoid. You should avoid supplements and multivitamins containing vitamin A (retinol) – as too much of it can harm your baby’s development. You should also avoid liver and liver products (including fish liver oil), as they are high in vitamin A.
Keeping active and doing exercise while you’re pregnant is great for you and your baby. You can keep up your normal level of daily activity and exercise regime, as long as it still feel comfortable
Some tips for exercising while pregnant:
a. You should be able to hold a conversation while you exercise.
b. Always warm up and cool down to keep you from pulling any muscles.
c. Stay hydrated – drink lots of water.
d. You can find online workouts that are safe during pregnancy.
e. Other good activities to try while pregnant include walking, yoga, pilates, aerobics and pelvic floor exercises.
f. Some exercises, like running and weight training, will need to be modified as your belly grows.
The best combination of exercise is aerobic and muscle-strengthening, as this helps you breathe properly and allows to deal with the increased weight you’ll be carrying around.
If you’re not already active, try building it into your daily life by taking the stairs, doing housework or gardening.
What to avoid:
a. Try not to lie on your back for long periods, as your bump will press on a big blood vessel that brings blood back to your heart, which can make you feel faint.
b. Avoid anything that risks you falling, for example: jumping jack
c. Contact sports are not a good idea either – eg squash, where there’s a risk of your bump being hit.Read more
Depending on how you normally like to snooze, you might have to rethink your favourite position while you’re pregnant.
If you sleep on your back, it’s safe to continue during the first trimester, but as your bump gets bigger and heavier you’ll need to sleep on your side, so it’s best to get into the habit as soon as you can.
By the third trimester (after 28 weeks of pregnancy), sleeping on your side is the safest position for your baby as it helps prevent the risk of stillbirth. Don’t worry, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated your risk of stillbirth is low (1 in 200 babies are stillborn) and going to sleep on your side will make it even lower.
It’s ok if you end up in all sorts of positions when you are asleep. The important thing to remember is to fall asleep on your side, as this means you are sleeping safely for your baby. If you wake up on your back, don’t be alarmed, just turn onto your side and go back to sleep.
Try sleeping on one side with your knees bent, it’ll help reduce the amount of pressure on your uterus and help you breathe better. Besides, this position can help relieve backache. You can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and behind your back if you like.
You should go to sleep on your side whenever you have a snooze, including:
- Going to sleep at night
- Getting back to sleep, after waking up at night
- Daytime naps
Antenatal classes are available to give you and your partner lots of helpful information on labour, birth and early parenthood.
They’re usually informal, fun and sociable, which makes them a great place to meet other parents-to-be. The friends you make at antenatal classes can become a great support network. You can now find many antenatal courses and workshops online.
Antenatal classes usually start 8 to 10 weeks before your baby is born, and happen once a week for about 2 hours.
You can choose classes that are just for pregnant women, or classes that welcome a partner or a friend.
Antenatal classes may include info on:
- Diet: how to stay healthy and have a good diet while you’re pregnant
- Exercise: what types of exercise are good for keeping fit in pregnancy
- Labour: what to expect
- Relaxation: how to relax while you’re pregnant and after you’ve had your baby
- Delivery methods: different birth methods and interventions
- After the birth: how to look after your newborn, and how you can stay healthy
- Emotional wellbeing: how you might feel during and after your pregnancy
Your developing baby relies on you as his sole source of nutrition. This means that your diet can impact not only your health but also your developing baby’s health and development too!
You can help your developing baby in cognitive development by having a well-balanced diet that provides valuable nutrients such as DHA and ARA acid. These nutrients are enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 fats respectively, which are critical for supporting the healthy development of your developing baby’s brain and eyes. These beneficial fats can be found in fish such as salmon, bass and anchovies.
During your first month of pregnancy, try to eat two servings of fatty fish – like salmon – each week. Fish are extremely valuable sources of DHA, but during your pregnancy, avoid fish and shellfish that contain high levels of mercury, as too much of it can potentially harm your developing baby’s nervous system. In general, older and larger fish contain more mercury, s avoid foods like swordfish, shark and tilefish.
Sex while pregnant is normally safe though you may have to adjust your position to allow for that bump. Women who have a history of miscarriage may be advised to avoid having intercourse during the first trimester and those with a history of early births should avoid it in the final trimester.
Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. You may want to consult your doctor if you notice bleeding in the early months.
Some exercises such as the pelvic tilt have been shown to safely decrease the intensity of back pain in pregnant women.
Depending on the cause of the pain, prescribed exercise and stretching can be useful in decreasing or eliminating back pain caused by the shift in center of gravity associated with pregnancy. This is one reason that supervised exercise sessions during pregnancy are suggested.
Take careful consideration before implementing any form of exercise into your daily lifestyle while pregnant as some routines may be off-limits for pregnant mothers. Find tips on some workouts that are safe for expecting mums here.
The seat belt will not hurt you or your baby even if you are involved in an accident; there is a greater risk of injury if you do not wear your seat belt. Wear the seatbelt normally across the shoulder and under, rather than over, your belly.
Infographic on pregnancy seatbelt positioner (source).
Tobacco is extremely dangerous to both mother and fetus. It affects their respiratory systems greatly. It puts the mother at greater risk of getting infections and pneumonia, it worsens asthma, and depending on the time of year, these can be greatly increased.
Smoking can affect the mother’s cardiovascular system as well, including how efficiently the heart is pumping. It can also affect skin changes and general well- being or mood. Smoke affects the weight of the fetus as well, causing a lot of low- birth-weight babies. Even though some women may think, “OK, I don’t want to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy” and keep smoking, it actually affects the fetus, not just the mother’s weight.
Alcohol has been well studied. Even small amounts and regular doses can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which is a horrible outcome for the baby. These are two drugs that are so dangerous to moms and babies.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the effects of smoking or drinking in your surroundings when you’re pregnant:
- If you live with someone who smokes, discuss quitting together. If this is not an option, talk to the person(s) about not smoking around you.
- When you can, avoid places where others are smoking.
- Offer alternatives to another venue or turn down any invitations to bars or pubs politely.