You probably don’t even have the words to describe how exciting it is to be preparing for the arrival of your baby. Or how nerve-wracking. With the endless stream of advice and recommendations from experts, websites, magazines, and well-meaning friends and family, it can be confusing—if not downright intimidating!—to figure out how to give your child the best start in life.
Here are five healthy pregnancy tips for an OB/GYN.
1. Don’t skip meals
Having three well-balanced meals is key because you are nourishing not just yourself, but another life. Prenatal vitamins can help balance your diet and ensure a healthy pregnancy. Pay attention to your calorie intake, too: Small snacks are encouraged between meals and keeping hydrated is especially important in warm weather.
And if you’re not a fish eater, consider taking fish oil during pregnancy: Research suggests your baby may develop fewer colds and could even have a higher IQ.
2. Don’t stress
Though many moms focus on the physical aspects of their pregnancy, having good mental health is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, too. Consider cutting down on stress by pampering yourself with a pregnancy massage. Yoga and Pilates classes are also great options to clear the mind and get some gentle exercise.
3. Do consider genetic testing
Pay special attention to prenatal tests offered to you during pregnancy, including genetic testing. It is important to know if you or your partner’s family has a history of genetic problems. Genetic testing can screen your baby for many disorders including Down syndrome. Older pregnant mothers especially should consider genetic testing for chromosome abnormalities.
4. Don’t forget your vaccinations
Getting vaccinated for the flu during the flu season is a must for a healthy pregnancy, especially after it reached an epidemic level this year. If you haven’t had the tetanus pertussis vaccination in the past two years, make sure to get this vaccine after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Make sure everyone taking care of your baby is up to date with their vaccinations as well.
5. Do educate yourself about cord blood banking
Cord blood banking with family cord blood banks, like ViaCord, allows the stem cell-rich cord blood to be saved for potential use later in your child’s life. Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases. Most expectant mothers are only briefly introduced to cord blood banking by their physician.
However, families, especially those with a history of certain genetic traits, kinds of cancer or other disorders, should ask their doctor how cord blood banking can be an invaluable resource for their loved ones.
By Winifred Soufi, M.D., Ph.D, FACOG