MHC was approached by a freelance journalist, Angela Sarpong, to write an article pertaining to Maternal Health. Ms. Sarpong works for local and international blogs and websites writing on various issues. She came across our website and was moved to write an article for us. So here it is, some helpful and handy tips to help you reduce risks during your pregnancy:
Health during pregnancy is one of the world’s biggest issues at the time. Although thank the Lord most of pregnancies finish normally, there are still an important number of child and mother deaths in Ghana, and so part of the solution is to provide more information to the mothers. Here are some tips on how to keep you and your future baby healthy during pregnancy:
Medical care – It is extremely important you attend all your visits. Indeed, proper prenatal medical care is basic to avoid risks and it is something that should start as soon as you know you are pregnant. There are monthly visits from week 1 to week 28, fortnightly visits from the 28th till the 36th week and weekly visits until delivery, but if you feel something strange happening don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away.
Exercising – Exercising is also an important part of pregnancy, not only because it is good for the baby, but also because it is not healthy to gain a lot of weight during that time since it could lead to a miscarriage. You should try exercising at least 30 minutes a day but without exceeding yourself. Although some cities have pre-natal exercise activities, if this is not your case you can also do it at home. It doesn’t even require spending a lot of money; for example lift some light dumbbells you can even find second hand while sitting on the floor in order to improve your posture. This is important because when the baby starts growing you will start slouching because of the weight, so in order to prevent back-pain and sciatic problems exercise regularly. Other common activities include swimming, since you won’t feel the weight of the baby in the water.
Have a good diet – Eating right is one of the most important things during pregnancy. You should go over a proper diet with your doctor or your obstetrician, who will give you the kind of diet that suits you best. Indeed, not all pregnant women should eat the same way, it depends on their peculiarities. Of course there are certain types of foods you should always avoid, including seafood high in mercury like swordfish, shark, king mackerel or tilefish; other types of foods to avoid are raw or undercooked foods (meat, poultry, fish and eggs) and unpasteurized foods. There are other types of foods that you should eat in very small quantities, so remember to keep yourself informed. Also, drink plenty of water, which is very important for both you and your fetus.
Absolutely no smoking or alcohol drinking – This is absolutely vital if you want to have a risk-free pregnancy. Smoke is lethal for the fetus and can cause you very serious problems, so make sure to stay away from people who smoke and smoking rooms. Even just exposition can be very dangerous. As for alcohol, there are various syndromes associated to mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy causing miscarriage or mental retardation in your baby, so not a single drop!
Sensible weight gain – Gain weight in a sensible and gradual way, otherwise your fetus can suffer from it, as well as you. Don’t starve yourself and don’t eat too much: find the right balance. The best thing is to gain weight eating breads and grains, fresh fruits, cooked vegetables and meats high on protein. Remember to boost your calcium intake because if not your body will absorb calcium from your bones in order to form the baby. A piece of healthy advice is to eat at least 6 small meals a day mixing and matching foods.
No toxins or chemicals – Whether it’s food or any other body product, stay away from anything that can contain toxic or chemical stuff, as this will alter your organism and the fetus too. Choose cleaning products made with natural components like lemon or vinegar instead chemicals and stay away from recently painted rooms.