Pregnancy Care: What to Do During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, you need to not only take care of your physical needs, but emotional well-being as well. This makes prenatal care very important. Today, we are highlighting a few guidelines that should help you have a healthy pregnancy, from diet to prenatal vitamins, to lifestyles.

How to Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy

1.     Get Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is not only essential for the mother to-be, but her baby as well. You need to call your healthcare provider and schedule prenatal visits to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy. During your first prenatal visit, you will be screened for conditions that may develop into possible complications.

Finding the right midwife or doctor could take some time but it is important. You need to let your caregiver know of any medication that you may be taking or address any concerns you might have about the pregnancy. Usually the frequency of prenatal visits will depend on the state and health of your pregnancy. Normally, prenatal visits are scheduled as follows:

  • ŸIn the first gestation period which lasts 28 weeks, you will be required to visit the doctor every 4 – 6 weeks.
  • ŸFrom week 28 – 36, the visits will increase to every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • ŸFrom week 36 to delivery, you will need to attend weekly prenatal visits.

During these prenatal visits, your healthcare provider will check on your blood pressure, weight gain, fundal height, the baby’s heart beat and conduct routine urine screening when and if necessary.

2.     Watch Your Diet

A lot of women are caught up on the notion of eating for two. While that is true, you only need to consume an additional 300 calories a day. You therefore must watch what you eat by eating a balanced and nutritious diet. Eat plenty of proteins, and in this case you would need 70 grams as opposed to the daily dose of 45 grams. When it comes to calcium, your daily requirements will not increase, but you still need to ensure that you have enough calcium in your body. Some foods you might want to avoid are unpasteurized juices and dairy products, cold deli meats and raw seafood, as these may introduce harmful bacteria into the body. Fish containing high mercury levels and other contaminants need to be avoided as well.

Watch a video to learn dietary tips during pregnancy:

3.     Take Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are important because they contain more iron and folic that what you get with standard multivitamins. Folic acid reduces your unborn child’s risk of developing birth defects like spina bifida. Ideally, you need to begin taking 400 mcg of this nutrient a month before you conceive. This should increase to 600 mcg when pregnant. Your iron requirements will also increase when pregnant especially in the second and third trimesters. Make sure to stay within the recommended nutrition guidelines, as too much of these nutrients could be harmful.

4.     Eliminate Environmental Dangers

Certain environments are not safe for the baby and you will need to make some changes, even at work. Avoid exposure to chemicals, certain biological agents, radiation and heavy metals such as mercury or lead when pregnant. Some cleaning products could contain chemicals that are harmful, so avoid them as well. Have a chat with your midwife or doctor concerning your daily routine so as to avoid the environmental hazards around your home and workplace.

5.     Rest Your Body

Fatigue is often a way of the body telling you to slow down. This is mostly experienced in the first and last trimesters. If you are unable to get a good night’s sleep, you could take quick naps during the day to rejuvenate. Also relax for about half an hour and put up your feet. If you have backaches, try sleeping on your left side with bent knees. Use a pillow under your bump to relieve your back strain. Exercise is also very important and it could provide some back pain relief and it can also help you sleep better. The following relaxation technique should help but always consult with your doctor before you start and let your instructor know that you are pregnant:

  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Visualization
  • Deep breathing

6.     Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Besides regular exercise, you also need to engage in healthy lifestyle activities.

  • ŸAvoid smoking, as it has been linked to increased risks of stillbirth, low birth weight, miscarriages and your child may grow up to be a smoker.
  • ŸStreet drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine also could cause fatal injuries to your unborn child. While the effects of marijuana are still unclear, you must avoid the drug.
  • ŸHot tubs and saunas may sound relaxing but they are not good for your child because they raise your body temperature.
  • ŸAlso cut back on your caffeine consumption. Too much caffeine could contribute to low birth weight and increase your risk of having a miscarriage. Pregnant women should consume no more than 200mg of caffeine daily which is equal to two coffee mugs.

7.     Practice Sex Safely

Generally, it is safe to have sex while pregnant. However, finding a position that comfortable for you is important. Oral sex is okay and safe but, make sure that your partner knows that blowing air into your vagina could cause a burst of air which in turn may block a blood vessel leading to what is known as air embolism. This is a life threatening condition for both the mother and her baby. Anal sex is not advised during pregnancy. Not only is it uncomfortable, it could also bring about hemorrhoids and bacterial infections from the rectum.

How to Relive Common Pregnancy Discomfort

Pregnancy Discomfort

How to Relive

Morning Sickness

Eat small meals frequently and avoid greasy meals. Keep crackers in hand to eat before you get out of bed.


Rest and take naps in the day time.

Leg Cramps

Stretch your calves by curling your toes towards your knees.


Eat lots of fiber and avoid laxatives. Stool softeners are considered safer.


Avoid forcing or straining yourself during bowel movements. Proper hygiene and warm sitz baths are helpful.

Frequent Urination

This is normal and unavoidable.

Varicose Veins

Avoid tight clothing and rest by putting your feet up. Avoid standing for long durations and request for compression or support clothing.


Mood changes are normal. However, seek attention when you constantly feel sad or develop suicidal thoughts.


Avoid greasy or spicy foods. Eat smaller portions more frequently and avoid lying down after eating. You can request antacids from your doctor.

Yeast Infections

Seek medical attention if this occurs.

In the following video, tips on sleeping position to relieve back pain and hip pain is provided:

When to Call Your Health Care Provider

If you experience any or a combination of the following symptoms when pregnant, call your doctor immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Painful urination, chills and fever
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Emotional or physical trauma
  • Membrane rupture (water break)
  • A decrease or halt in the baby’s movement

You also need to call your doctor if you are pregnant and:

  • Are not on prenatal care
  • Are on medication for high blood pressure, seizures, diabetes and other conditions
  • Cannot cope with your pregnancy without medication
  • Have been exposed to an STI, radiation, chemicals or harmful pollutants