One of the most essential steps in maintaining a healthy pregnancy is getting early and regularly scheduled prenatal care.
Women should seek medical evaluation soon after their first positive, in-home pregnancy test or first missed menstrual cycle.
Early prenatal care provides a good baseline for the doctor to effectively monitor and manage the health of the mother and development of the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy; it also offers more options for prenatal screening tests.
Maintaining good personal health is also essential during pregnancy.
This involves proper nutrition, exercise, proper management of pre-existing health conditions, and proper prenatal medication management.
It is especially important for expectant mothers to get started on a daily regimen of prenatal vitamins as soon as possible, to ensure they are getting the right amount of essential vitamins such as folic acid, iron and vitamin C, that help in fetal development and maintain the mother’s health.
A balanced diet with proper amounts of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains is highly recommended for pregnant women to safeguard the health of themselves and their baby.
It is also important for expectant mothers to discuss medications that are safe and/or unsafe to take during pregnancy with their doctors.
It is also important to be aware of the things to avoid while pregnant. Alcohol and drug use and/or abuse during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of birth defects, such as fetal alcohol syndrome.
It is also important for women to avoid tobacco use or second-hand smoke while pregnant, as this can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and developmental problems.
Pregnant women should try to reduce their stress levels, as well as reduce risk of accidents, such as falls.
Expectant mothers in the community are fortunate as the Cone Health network provides exceptional women’s services that are dedicated to educating mothers and families during pregnancy and providing them with proper care.
Marie Williams is a certified nurse midwife at Cone Health Women’s Hospital OB/GYN faculty practice.
Williams received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from East Carolina University in 1983.
She received a Master of Science in nursing and critical care from Duke University in 1992 and a Post-Master’s Certificate in midwifery from Emory University in 1999.