When you are pregnant, you have to be very cautious and make sure to watch your health and nourish your body with care not only for your own health but also for the health of your unborn child. During pregnancy, your body experiences complex physical changes. The first trimester is the most uncertain period and any kind of infections, physical strain, stress or alcohol can be dangerous for your baby. Keep a balance between physical stress and rest. Do avoid drugs, medications, infections etc that are medically known as ‘Teratogen’ which can harm the child.
Precautions to be taken after conception
1. After confirmation of pregnancy, you must consult your gynaecologist and undergo a series of tests in order to assess your health condition. This helps to eliminate possible risks to the foetus during the course of pregnancy.
2. You may have to alter certain food habits to keep your body ready for your unborn baby.
Precautions to be taken during first month
1. You must take prescribed doses of prenatal vitamins during the first trimester. To prevent birth defects you need to take at least 4 mcg of folic acid during pregnancy. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in the unborn baby. Your doctor may prescribe prenatal vitamins which contain higher dosage of folic acid for pregnant woman.
2. Do not let your body become dehydrated since according to the American Pregnancy Association, dehydration in first trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage. Your body has just about begun adjusting to the new changes during the first trimester of pregnancy. Water requirements of your body have increased because now it is supporting a life. Drink plenty of water, fresh fruit juices and also some vegetables such as cucumber that are high in water content to stay hydrated.
3. Cigarette smoking and drug usage must be stopped at the very beginning of the first week of pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can be seen if alcohol is consumed during this period and the baby may develop unusual facial features and may be mentally retarded as well. You should stop taking drugs like marijuana, methamphetamines and cocaine to minimize the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Consequences of smoking are untimely delivery, low birth weight, asthma in later stages of life, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
4. Make sure to avoid tea, coffee or aerated drinks since they contain caffeine. The latter increases the risk of miscarriages.
5. Put a stop to any kind of sexual activity during the first trimester. Since vital organs of the baby are developing during this period, sex can jolt and damage the entire process of development. Rest assured, this is only for the first trimester. You can resume intercourse from the second semester onward.
Precautions to be taken during second month
1. This is the most critical month in fetal development. Your unborn baby changes from a blastocyst to an embryo. Your unborn baby’s heart will begin to beat during early days of this month. It will beat slowly in the beginning, then very rapidly. The heartbeat rate will slow a bit later in first trimester. Your baby’s upper and lower limb buds will appear by the end of the month.
2. You have to avoid certain foods during this period. However, you must eat well. Do not eat certain fish such as sea fish or tuna. They might contain some amounts of mercury which may damage the process of development of the brain of your unborn baby. Avoid eating cheese, raw eggs or fish, processed meats such as sausages and meat spreads since they may contain certain bacteria. This leads to disorders such as salmonella, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. Also miscarriage can occur in extreme cases due to these illnesses.
3. Stay away from animals and pets. A harmful parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii present on the animal body can damage your unborn baby by attacking the brain of the foetus. Severe eye defects, poor growth and prematurity may happen due to an infection by this parasite. Always stay away from your pet’s litter. The danger of toxoplasmosis is minimized if you do not eat uncooked meat. Always wash raw fruits and raw vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
Precautions to be taken during third month
1. Any type of medication should be administered only under the able guidance of your gynaecologist. Do not expose your body to any kind of X-ray process without consulting your doctor. The development of the foetus’s vital organs such as the brain, heart and lungs happen during these first three months. Mal-development or even a spontaneous abortion can happen due to exposure to any form of radiation or the side effect of any medication.
2. Always stay away from strong smells as they can increase morning sickness and nausea during first trimester. You may stay away from some herbs during first trimester of pregnancy. They can produce many complications in your unborn baby and very often lead to miscarriage.
3. Avoid any kind of physical exercise. This is one of the very important precautions during your pregnancy period. You must not take part in weight lifting. Do not participate in scuba diving. Do not go horse riding or skiing. Always avoid contact sports during pregnancy.
These are the most important precautions that you may take as an expectant mother. You must meet your doctor and report any indication that you may consider worrying. This is the most important phase of the baby’s development and it also determines the pattern for your subsequent months. Consult your gynecologist for other precautionary measures to be taken during pregnancy. Your doctor will guide you to stay ready for your unborn baby.