You’re building a baby. You need a few things to give the kiddo every chance possible. But, with so much contradictory advice out there, whom do you trust? Your doctor is going to take a conservative approach. Whether you listen to him or her is up to you. But, in general, here is the shortlist of “do”s and “don’t”s.
Do Eat Right
You’ve heard all of the warnings about caffeine, alcohol, and seafood. Of course, you don’t want to do anything to harm the baby, but what does the science actually say? It says that most seafood and fish are safe to eat. Yep, that’s right. Your doctor is completely wrong about you needing to avoid seafood during pregnancy. How can this be true? Won’t the mercury in the fish harm baby? No. Why? Because there’s also a lot of selenium in fish, and selenium binds with mercury, making it unavailable to the body.
Also on the safe list is liver. This powerhouse food delivers an abundance of nutrients your body needs, like B-vitamins, vitamin A, iron, and zinc. It’s nature’s multivitamin.
Do Get Some Exercise
According to biomechanist Katy Bowman, more women, especially pregnant women, need to exercise. Specifically, they need to do things like squatting, which will strengthen the pelvic floor (unlike kegals, which help weaken it, your doctor’s protestations notwithstanding).
Other than that, the more you can walk, the better. Conservative doctors often recommend pregnant women “take it easy.” This is more of a CYA measure than medical advice backed by science though. In truth, activity during pregnancy is good and healthy for you and for baby.
Do Get Some Rest
While exercise is good, rest is also essential. Get your 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night. Also, while you should exercise during the day, don’t overdo it. You should have periods of exercise mixed in with periods of rest throughout the day. A balance, if you will.
Say No To Alcohol
Say no to alcohol, and drugs for that matter. You’ll have plenty of time to be depressed after the baby is born. But, seriously, alcohol that you drink during pregnancy (and, to some extent after pregnancy) can still reach your baby. While in the womb, the booze travels through your bloodstream, crosses the placenta, and your baby can end up with higher levels of blood alcohol than you. As little as one drink a day can increase your risk of a low-birthweight baby.
More than that, you risk your child having learning disabilities later on in life. Speech patterns, attention span, language, and hyperactivity all become a problem for your child if you drink. Some research has even shown that expectant moms who only have a drink a week are more likely to have kids that display aggressive or delinquent behavior.
Fortunately, if you have a drinking problem right now, there’s help. Solutions, like those found here, don’t rely on religion or AA meeting. They rely on proven psychotherapy and a process called “cognitive therapy.”
Remember, drinking puts you at risk for still birth or miscarriage – you could end up losing your child. It’s not worth it.
GUEST BLOGGER: Steve Tucker loves working with new and expectant mothers in his medical practice. Helping them reach health goals and proper prenatal and postnatal care, he greatly enjoys discussing all things babies.