Tips for Pregnant Women to Reduce the Risk of Neurological Birth Defects

It is the desire of every woman to give birth to a healthy baby. Motherhood is a pleasurable experience that every woman can possibly wish to have. However, expectant mothers may worry about the health and safety of the baby. When you know you are pregnant, physical and mental care of yourself becomes even more critical.

This can increase stress in pregnant women. However, you can give birth to a healthy baby with a hassle-free pregnancy if you follow these few simple guidelines:

Visit a doctor as soon as possible-
Good antenatal care is very crucial for you and your unborn baby. So call your doctor right away and schedule your first antenatal appointment.

Here are the benefits of getting a medical checkup early in pregnancy:

  • You’ll get helpful advice for a healthy pregnancy right from the start.
  • You will have enough time to have any necessary ultrasound scans or tests.
  • The doctor can do testing for specific health conditions that require additional care or that may lead to complications.
  • Ideally, choose a doctor who has a clinic or hospital near your home. You may need to reach them quickly in case of an emergency, so it is good to keep their mobile number with you.

Eat healthy food-
Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet. This includes consuming the following:

  • At least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Consume starchy foods (carbohydrates) such as rice, bread, and pasta. Carbohydrates should make up a little more than a third of what you eat. Choose whole-grain varieties instead of white ones, so you can get enough fiber.
  • A pregnant woman should get 2400 calories compared to a normal woman and intake various vitamins and minerals.
  • If you don’t like fish or you are a vegetarian, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from other foods such as nuts, seeds, soy products, and green leafy vegetables.

Pay attention to food hygiene-
Food hygiene is paramount during pregnancy. Pay close attention to what you are eating. Certain foods are not safe to consume during pregnancy. This is because they may contain bacteria or parasites, which can put your baby’s health at risk.

Keep iron levels high-
Iron deficiency anemia among Indian women is the highest in the world. This means that many women in our country are already deficient in iron before becoming pregnant. This is because you need iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen to various body organs and tissues.

Eat plenty of iron-rich foods and supplements prescribed by your doctor to keep your iron levels high. Unfortunately, vegetarian diets are generally low in iron. So if you are a vegetarian, it is vital to pay attention to your iron intake.

Take prenatal supplements-
You will need to take a folic acid supplement for the first three months of pregnancy. Taking folic acid can reduce the risk of developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida in the baby. Then, beginning in the second trimester, you will need to take an iron supplement and a calcium supplement fortified with vitamin D daily. Vitamin D is essential for the development of your baby’s bone marrow and for healthy bones in the future.

If you think you’re not getting enough omega-3s from your diet, talk to your doctor about supplements.

Exercise regularly-
Exercising has many benefits for you, and your baby will also get benefit from it. Following are the benefits of doing light exercise:

  • It helps to cope with changes in your posture and stress on your joints during pregnancy.
  • It is normal to gain some weight during pregnancy. However, regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Helps protect you from complications like high blood pressure in pregnancy.
  • Increases chances of delivery without any complications.
  • Makes it easier to get into your former shape after your baby is born.
  • If you’re feeling down, it can help improve your mood.

Remember not to do extra or intense exercise. Also, the body temperature should not rise too much, and you should not feel dehydrated. Keep in mind that every person is different, and every pregnancy is different. Get a doctor’s permission before starting or continuing any kind of exercise.

The tiredness you feel in the early months of pregnancy is due to the high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating in your body so take proper rest. I hope these tips will be helpful for you and keep you and your baby safe from any trouble during pregnancy. If you feel any concerns consult to doctor directly.