Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy
For a woman trying to conceive, the words “Congratulations! You’re pregnant!” are like music to the ears. Dr. David Ghozland, who practices obstetrics in Los Angeles, says getting pregnant is only the first step to a healthy pregnancy, and offers pregnancy tips to take you through all nine months without complications.
Dr. Ghozland says to set up your first prenatal visit before you reach 12 weeks of pregnancy, then follow up with appointments in intervals during weeks 16, 24 to 28, 32, 36, 38, and then every week after that. Keep in mind your OB/GYN may recommend a different schedule based on your healthcare needs. In terms of having a healthy pregnancy, there are several steps you can take:
Take a prenatal or one-a-day vitamin with folate. Folate, or folic acid, is a B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Getting 0.4 to 0.8 milligrams (400 to 800 micrograms) a day early in pregnancy can prevent such defects.
Get regular exercise. Most types of exercises like swimming, running, bicycling, and resistance training are fine during pregnancy, just be sure to check with your doctor.
Drink lots of water and try to avoid alcohol. Alcohol can cause low birth weight, stillbirth, miscarriage, and birth defects such as fetal alcohol syndrome.
Don’t smoke. Expectant mothers who smoke have a greater chance of having a miscarriage, stillbirth, baby with low birth weight, and a child who grows up to smoke.
Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna raises your body temperature, which can be unhealthy for your unborn child.
Keep vaccinations up to date. Pregnancy places you and your baby at greater risk for complications from common viruses like the flu. Make sure to get your flu shot. The most important thing you can do if you want to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to talk to your obstetrics provider and ask for specific pregnancy tips based on your unique health and lifestyle factors. Also, consider taking a childbirth class well in advance of your delivery due date. Understanding the birth process and knowing what to expect will help you relax during labor and result in a healthy delivery.