Now that you are pregnant, it’s vital to learn about safe and healthy birth as much as possible. It can help you make the right decisions and simplify pregnancy and birth.
We’ve created this post so that you feel informed, confident, and ready for the next chapter in your life. Here, we’ll discuss prenatal care which is crucial for childbirth, and take a closer look at 6 evidence-based practices that help have a healthy birth and increase safety for moms and babies. Keep reading!
How to Have a Safe & Healthy Pregnancy?
We often get asked, “Does a healthy pregnancy mean a healthy delivery?” Well, it doesn’t literally affect the delivery itself, but it significantly lowers the risks of various health complications in a mom and a baby and definitely helps to have a healthy birth.
Here’s how to keep you and your little one as healthy as possible while you’re expecting:
Get regular prenatal care
As soon as you are at week 8 of pregnancy, schedule your first visit to the health care provider or obstetrician-gynecologist. If you are healthy and there are no risk factors, your doctor will want to see you every four weeks until week 28 of pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until week 28, and once a week until delivery. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will check your blood pressure, weight, while also checking the growth and development of the fetus.
Keep well-balanced diet
You are eating for two now, so it’s not the right time for diets. Actually, you need 300 extra calories a day or even more if you are expecting twins. Do make sure that the calories come from the right foods like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, cereals, and whole-grain bread.
When a woman is pregnant, her blood volume increases dramatically, making it important to drink plenty of water. Besides, staying well-hydrated helps prevent constipation.
Stay active and exercise
If you are lucky to have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you should do low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise. Why? Because consistent exercising gets your body ready for a healthy birth, oxygenates your organism and fetus, increases energy, reduces back pain, swelling, and constipation, prevents excess weight gain, and lessens recovery time after the birth. Prego-safe activities are walking, swimming, yoga, and gentle stretching; so, a yoga mat is one of the future mom must-haves.
Take enough rest
As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll feel more tired, so take rests during the day: lie down, put your feet up, relax, read a book or watch a movie. You should also take daytime naps, go to bed earlier and sleep as much as you want. Plenty of Zzzs is totally normal for moms-to-be.
Be careful with medicaments
Some medicines are linked to birth defects, so always consult your healthcare provider before taking any of them. If due to health conditions, you have to take drugs on a regular basis, discuss with your doctor what you should do for a healthy pregnancy.
Make sure to avoid the following things
● Alcohol – there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy! Alcohol can lead to severe abnormalities in a developing baby.
● Smoking – nicotine and carbon monoxide passes to a growing baby. The risks of smoking when pregnant include: prematurity, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, and other respiratory issues in an infant.
● Recreational drugs – a pregnant woman who uses drugs places a baby-to-be at risk for premature birth, poor growth, and development, birth defects, behavior, and learning problems. Besides, a baby can be born addicted to those drugs.
● Caffeine – consuming much caffeine is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, so you should avoid caffeine. Remember that not only coffee but also products like cola, tea, chocolate contain caffeine as well. So, switch to caffeine-free alternatives.
Steps to Maximize the Chances of Safe and Healthy Birth
According to many studies, standard maternity care in U.S. hospitals is not evidence-based and makes labor and birth more difficult for women. That’s because the standard practice promotes and supports the use of intravenous lines, epidurals, continuous electronic monitoring, the limit of movements, eating, drinking, and other restrictions. It increases stress in women, disrupts the hormonal orchestration of labor, and interferes with the natural, physiologic process of birth. Although sometimes unavoidable or unexpected issues occur and interventions during childbirth may be needed, in general, babies are born without any problems.
Here are 6 practices supported by research that help to have a healthy birth that lower risks of complications in a mom and baby.
1. Labor must begin on its own – pregnancy lasts 38-42 weeks and labor must start naturally when your body and your baby are ready. Stimulation usually makes contractions harder and stresses a baby.
2. Move around and change positions during labor – it helps your uterus work more effectively. The upright position and gravity help pull the baby down.
3. Bring someone you can rely on to get continuous support – it can be your partner, relative, friend, or doula. Just make sure they can really support you physically and emotionally. There will be lots of work for them: you’ll need a massage, healthy food, and hundreds of other things for a comfortable birth. Good support increases the mother’s confidence and decreases pain.
4. Avoid any interventions unless medically necessary – any intervasions disrupt the natural birthing process and make it more difficult. It creates unnecessary risks for a woman and a baby.
5. Follow your body urge to push and avoid giving birth on your back – directed pushing is stressful for a baby and is linked to a higher risk of pelvic floor dysfunction. Upright positions or lying on the side make it easier for the baby to move through the birth canal and shorten the pushing stage. So, use an adjustable hospital bed that can support different positions.
6. Keep your baby with you right after birth – skin-to-skin contact promotes breastfeeding and simplifies the baby’s transition. A new mom will be more satisfied and less likely to hemorrhage.
Remember that a place of birth and healthcare provider make a difference. You should choose those that support your choices and promote a safe and healthy birth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a healthy birth rate?
A birth rate or fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is considered healthy. If it’s sustained for a long period, every generation will replace itself.
What is a healthy age to give birth?
According to experts, an ideal age for getting pregnant is between your 20s and 30s. However, age is just one factor from many others that should influence your decision to conceive.
What is the safest healthiest birth control?
If you aren’t ready to conceive, you should consult your healthcare provider so that he/she recommends the right contraceptives for you. In any case, oral contraceptives with levonorgestrel and a low dose of estrogen are considered the safest option since they are associated with the lowest risk of blood clots.
In conclusion, it’s vital to take care of yourself from the 1st week of your pregnancy to the birth and only make educated decisions since your health and your baby’s health greatly depend on it. Hopefully, our post has helped you feel more informed, confident, and less afraid during this happy but challenging period of your life.