When it comes to pregnancy, everyone’s an expert!
As a first-time mom, there’s plenty of excitement, nerves and changes to your body – on an almost daily basis. And, as if that isn’t enough to deal with, there’s the constant stream of advice, often given by complete strangers.
Should you be listening to what people are saying?
If this is your first pregnancy, it’s helpful to read up on what to expect, and to talk to your doctor about each stage of your pregnancy. Remember though, it’s an intensely personal experience, and what works for one woman’s morning sickness may not work for another’s. Pregnancy tends to be greeted with pleasure, and it triggers our need to share, but you don’t have to follow every piece of advice you’re given.
Myth busting: you’re eating for two now!
When you’re pregnant, you actually only need to be consuming an extra 300 extra calories a day, so don’t fall for the myth that you need to eat double of everything. It’s more like eating for one and a fifth! If you do “eat for two”, you there’s a good chance your baby will be bigger than normal, and studies suggest that babies that are bigger at birth are more likely to suffer from diabetes and obesity in later life. Just make sure the extra calories you’re consuming are healthy and nutritious, remember that what you eat during pregnancy, especially the first 3 months, will affect your baby’s development.
It’s safe to get a flu vaccine while pregnant
A recent study found that pregnant women who got flu vaccines were less likely than non-immunised pregnant women to deliver premature babies. In addition, the babies of vaccinated pregnant women had higher, healthier birth weights. Pregnant women who get the flu are more likely to get serious respiratory illnesses, so the bottom-line is: getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy is good for moms and their babies. If you’re worried, or unsure, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Folic acid is a vital supplement before and during pregnancy
Folic acid is an essential vitamin that significantly reduces the risk of your baby having birth defects of the brain or spine. Because neural tube defects develop very early in pregnancy, it’s best to start increasing your folic acid intake before you conceive. Taking a folic acid supplement is a safe and easy way to ensure you get enough of this important vitamin.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, you should take a folic acid supplement for at least one month before you start trying to conceive, and continue taking it throughout the first trimester. If you have an unplanned pregnancy you can still benefit from taking folic acid, just start taking it as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Speak to your pharmacist about the best supplement for you.
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Women who do moderate exercise throughout their pregnancy tend to gain less weight over time, and have a higher level of body self-confidence. Walking, swimming and light weights are all safe exercises to do during pregnancy.
If you’re looking for more information about pregnancy, you can also check out the Hello Doctor pregnancy hub!
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com