Enjoying Pregnancy The Healthy Way

Congratulations! You are expecting a baby. As you begin to decorate your nursery room and head out on a frantic shopping spree for baby clothes, toiletries and toys, don’t forget about yourself. Caring for the health and well-being of you and your baby should be the main priority during your pregnancy. Here are some easy lifestyle tips to help you enjoy pregnancy the healthy way.


Don’t smoke

  • Smoking creates an unhealthy environment for baby even before he is born. Among other effects, it has been shown to constrict blood vessels and thus reduce blood and oxygen supply to baby in the womb. This increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low-birth weight and cerebral palsy in baby.

Passive smoking

  • It is extremely important that pregnant mothers to stay away from cigarette smoke produced by other people as well. Passive smoking can actually be more hazardous to baby than active smoking. Chemicals from passive smoking can be absorbed into the mother’s bloodstream and transported directly into baby’s system. So stay away from smoky surroundings.


Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Don’t drink alcohol

  • With alcohol, you need to understand that it is the substance itself (and not the quantity) that is harmful. Alcohol use during pregnancy leads to mental deficiency in baby. So, if you are planning for pregnancy, it is time you start getting accustomed to staying alcohol-free.

Stay off recreational drugs

  • Simply put, drugs during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, placental abruption and preterm labor and delivery. Drugs can also cause growth restriction and birth defects in the unborn baby.


For headaches and other kinds of pain

  • Before taking any medication, always check the label for contraindications to pregnancy. Acetaminophen is a non-aspirin substitute and a safe drug to use during pregnancy as it does not cause any birth defects. Paracetamol in the recommended dose is safe in prenancy. Avoid taking Ibuprofen and NSAIDS.

For existing illnesses

  • If you are on regular medication due to an existing health condition, seek your doctor’s advice on whether you should continue, discontinue or switch to a different kind of medication. For example, diabetics on oral hypoglycaemic medication may need to change to insulin injections.

For cough, cold & flu

  • Having the flu poses no danger to you or your baby. Get plenty of rest and drink more fluids. If the flu is prolonged, see your doctor. Do not take cold medications and antibiotics unless prescribed. Be sure to complete the course of antibiotics.

For weight loss

  • If your body weight is excessive and poses a risk to you and your baby, your doctor will advise you on what to do. Do not take any weight-loss medication while pregnant. Also, this is not the time for dieting; you need balanced meals with all the right nutrients.


Moderate aerobic exercise is good for you provided you have no existing health complications.

Getting started

  • If you have not been exercising frequently, start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and duration of each session. Aim to exercise 3 times a week at 20 minutes per session. Be sure to drink fluids before, during and right after exercise. The best method of exercising for beginners would be walking on flat ground. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Walking is inexpensive, easy and convenient.

Sports to avoid

  • Avoid all sports that involve the risk of colliding with another participant or falling.


By Car

  • Most pregnant mothers fail to wear their seat belts because they worry about risks to their unborn babies. Plus, seat belts tend to cause a certain amount of discomfort. Make it a habit to wear your seat belt. Whether you are sitting in front or at the back, your seat belt makes road travel a lot safer. Position the hip belt snugly under your abdomen and across your upper thighs. It should not cross your abdomen. Make sure the shoulder belt lies between your breasts.
  • As a passenger, it is advisable for you to sit in the back seat of the car, not only because of the risk of a front-on collision but also the presence of air bags in the dashboard. Remember to wear your seat belt!


By motorbike

  • If possible do not travel by motorbike when pregnant. Besides the discomfortwhen heavily pregnant, there are no safety restraints on motorbikes. You also risk injuring yourself and baby, should you fall or meet a collision.

Safety Around The House

Exposure to toxic substances

  • When housecleaning, wear gloves and try to avoid inhaling strong caustic fumes (eg from house paint and solvents). There is no evidence that the normal use of household cleaners causes birth defects. However, never mix ammonia with chlorinebased products. The combination produces toxic fumes. Keep your house well ventilated.

Cleaning Litter Boxes

  • Try not to clean up after your pets due to the r isk of infection by microorganisms found in their faeces. Cat faeces, for example, carry a parasite called toxoplasma that can cause toxoplasmosis, a rare but serious blood infection that can lead to birth defects (such as blindness, deafness and mental retardation). If you can’t assign this task to someone else, then practise caution by wearing rubber gloves and a facemask. Also, don’t do any gardening in areas where your pets may have urinated or passed motion.


Go ahead

  • Most miscarriages during the first trimester are usually a result of genetic defects, not lovemaking. So, if your pregnancy is normal and you are not at any risk of premature labour, then lovemaking can proceed until you reach the third trimester of your pregnancy.


  • Refrain from lovemaking in the last weeks of your pregnancy due to the risk of intrauterine infection. Your doctor might advise against lovemaking if you experience vaginal bleeding. He might also rule out lovemaking late in your pregnancy if you are expecting twins.


Following the above tips will ensure that you are doing whatever you can to create a safe environment for your unborn baby. In addition, do maintain a positive attitude and a cheerful disposition during your pregnancy, as your baby is able to sense your emotions. Pregnancy is a very unique and special time in a woman’s life, so enjoy yours.

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