Everyone wants to know what they can do to keep themselves and their baby safe during pregnancy. Most things our out of our control. But here are 5 actionable tips to reduce risk and increase the health of your pregnancy.
1. Eat good food: You are building your baby from what is already in your body and what you put into your body. Eating foods that look like they did when they were still growing is a great way to ensure that you are eating healthy foods. For example, a chicken breast looks a lot like it did when it was still in the chicken. Hot dogs though? Not so much. If 80% of your food looks like it did when it was growing, or if your great grandmother could list the ingredients just by looking at it, then you are doing well. Check out The Foodie’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Eating for Two, and You are what you eat.
2. Move your body: Exercise and activity in pregnancy reduce your chances of gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain and muscular and joint pain. One of the most important things you can do during your labour to improve your outcomes is to move! If you have been active during your pregnancy and if your body is comfortable moving and adopting lots of different positions then you are ahead of the game. Learn more about safe exercise in pregnancy by reading Is it safe to life heavy things or exercise in pregnancy?
3. Choose your care provider wisely: Make sure that the care provider that you choose has a similar philosophy to you. Not all midwives are low intervention and not all obstetricians are high intervention. Don’t assume. Get them talking. And be sure to find out where your care provider has privileges to practice. Check out the policies, procedures and statistics of that institution. Read 5 things you need to ask your care provider once you’ve peed on that stick.
4. Develop a strategy to ignore unsolicited advice: Everybody has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy and birth. You may have some trusted advisers in your life who are important support people. And that’s great! But keep in mind that best practice changes over time. What your mother, or aunt, or neighbour was told when they had babies may no longer be valid. Maybe double check. And it seems that even random people who would generally never think of commenting on your health or personal life feel comfortable inquiring and commenting when you are pregnant. Have a plan to politely ignore advice, scary stories and opinions that undermine your confidence.
5. Ask questions and make decisions: Pregnancy and birth are normal physiological processes. Most of the time things are going to turn out no matter what you choose. There is no one right way to approach your care. Make sure that you understand the rationale behind any recommendations given to you. Make sure that those recommendations make sense to you and that they will help you to have the type of experience and outcome that you want. Ultimately, understanding what is happening to you and why and having your decisions respected goes a long way toward ensuring you feel healthy and whole. Shoot for informed choice. Not sure how to achieve informed choice? We can help. We’ve written a free guide to help you get all the information you want and need to make informed decisions about your health care.