Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. If you do all you can to stay healthy during pregnancy and to give your baby a healthy start, you’ll have peace of mind. Here’s a checklist to keep your health on course during pregnancy.
Prevent Potential Problems
- Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, before and during pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent major birth defects.
- Stop smoking. This is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants.
- Don’t drink alcohol while you’re pregnant. When you drink, so does your growing baby.
- Get vaccinated, to protect you and your baby against serious health problems. The CDC* suggests that women get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy.
- Control diabetes (high blood sugar) to lower the chance of birth defects and other problems for your baby.
- Keep high blood pressure under control to lower risk of related problems.
*Centers for Disease Control
Be Physically Active
- Unless you're having problems, keep moving!
- Exercise during pregnancy
- Helps you prepare for labor and delivery and reduces backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
- Boosts your mood and energy levels and helps you sleep better
- Prevents too much weight gain, and aids muscle tone, strength and endurance
- May lower the risk of gestational diabetes
- Healthy women should get at least 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate to intense aerobic exercise-- like brisk walking--during and after pregnancy.
- A healthy diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.
- Include whole grains, which have essential carbohydrates for energy.
- Fruits and veggies are important. They provide many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to help digestion.
- Get protein from meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans, which have B vitamins and iron. Protein is key for your baby's growth.
The calcium in dairy products and calcium-enriched soy milk helps build your baby's bones and teeth.
Things to Think About Before Baby Arrives
- Prenatal screening to spot any problems that could affect your baby, like birth defects or genetic diseases.
- Recovery time if having a C-section. It could take up to six weeks to fully heal from surgery.
- Breast milk has antibodies that can protect your baby from infections.
- PCP visits. Your baby should have regular visits with a Primary Care Provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests at least 8 exams in the first 15 months.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth
If your QualChoice plan includes QCARE, sign up for our Maternity Management program. Learn more about our QCARE programs here. Or call 800.235.7111 or 501.228.7111 and ask to speak to a Care Manager.