Checklist: The do’s and don’ts of pregnancy for Nashville moms
Sometimes the books aren’t enough. These tips and Nashville resources can help during your nine months.
You’ve been swallowed by pregnancy blogs, Pinterest boards and baby books. But before you nail down your nursery paint scheme, keep these things in mind for the healthiest possible pregnancy.
When in doubt, ask your doctor! But these tips will get you on the right track.
- See your health care provider regularly. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy and spot problems if they occur.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods and lean meats in your daily diet. Want to stock your shelves with local produce? Check out the Nashville Farmers’ Market.
- Get moving! Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, physical activity is good for you and your baby. And after birth, check out Hike It Baby, a site that will connect you to hikes and walks led by other Nashville moms.
- Get all essential nutrients every day and drink extra fluids. Getting enough iron prevents anemia, which is linked to premature births and low-birth weight babies. Ask your health care provider about taking a daily prenatal vitamin or iron supplement.
- Wash your hands. Take extra care after handling raw meat or using the bathroom.
- Set limits. Control the stress in your life and set limits as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests for your time and energy, and ask help from others! If you need extra help relaxing, Blooma Nashville offers prenatal yoga classes to help ease your mind as well as Bring Your Own Baby (BYOB), to connect with your little one after birth.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for 7 to 9 hours every night. Resting on your left side helps blood flow to you and your baby and prevents swelling. Using pillows between your legs and under your belly to help you get comfortable.
- Join a class. A childbirth or parenting class can help you prepare. Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health offers a number of classes, including a childbirth class and Newborn Care 101.
You’ve probably heard it many times before: Stay away from alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs while pregnant. But here are some other interesting pregnancy no-nos you may not know to help keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
- Protect yourself and your baby from foodborne illness. Foodborne illness can cause serious health problems and even death. Handle, clean, cook, eat and store food properly.
- Don’t clean or change a cat’s litter box. This could put you at risk for toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be very harmful to the fetus. Assign this chore to someone else.
- Don’t eat fish with lots of mercury. Swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tilefish should only be eaten in moderation.
- Avoid contact with rodents. Also avoid contact with their urine, droppings or nesting material. This includes household pests and pet rodents, such as guinea pigs and hamsters. Rodents can carry a virus that can be harmful or even deadly to your unborn baby.
- Don’t take very hot baths or use hot tubs or saunas. High temperatures can be harmful to the unborn baby, and cause you to faint.
- Don’t use scented feminine hygiene products. Pregnant women should avoid scented sprays, sanitary napkins and bubble bath. These products might irritate your vaginal area, and increase your risk of a urinary tract infection or yeast infection.
- Avoid X-rays. If you must have dental work or diagnostic tests, tell your dentist or physician that you are pregnant so that extra care can be taken.
Vanderbilt Women’s Health provides care for women at all stages of their lives at locations across Middle Tennessee. Learn more here or call 615-343-5700.