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CDC - Having a Healthy Pregnancy: ABC's...Pregnancy Tips (A-Z) “Not all birth defects can be prevented, but a woman can take some actions that increase her chance of having a healthy baby. Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Remember that about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. A Avoid exposure to toxic substances and chemicals --- such as cleaning solvents, lead and mercury, some insecticides, and paint. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to paint fumes. B Be sure to see your doctor and get prenatal care as soon as you think you're pregnant. It's important to see your doctor regularly throughout pregnancy, so be sure to keep all your prenatal care appointments. and... Breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for both you and your baby. Talk to your doctor, your family and friends, and your employer about how you choose to feed your baby and how they can support you in your decision. C Cigarette smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of premature birth, certain birth defects, and infant death. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage and to have a baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate--types of birth defects. Smoking is one of the causes of problems with the placenta and can cause a baby to be born too early and have low birth weight. Smoking is also one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). D Drink extra fluids (water is best) throughout pregnancy to help your body keep up with the increases in your blood volume. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water, fruit juice, or milk each day. A good way to know you're drinking enough fluid is when your urine looks like almost-clear water or is very light yellow. E Eat healthy to get the nutrients you and your unborn baby need. Your meals should include the five basic food groups. Each day you should get the following: 6-11 servings of grain products, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruits, 4-6 servings of milk and milk products, 3-4 servings of meat and protein foods. Foods low in fat and high in fiber are important to a healthy diet. F Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily both before pregnancy and during the first few months of pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine. All women who could possibly become pregnant should take a vitamin with folic acid, every day. It is also important to eat a healthy diet with fortified foods (enriched grain products, including cereals, rice, breads, and pastas) and foods with natural sources of folate (orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, and lentils). G ... “

NIH – Pregnancy

NIH - Pregnancy and Reproduction

NIH – Pregnancy

NHS - The pregnancy care planner: Your NHS guide to having a baby

NHS - The pregnancy care planner: What should you eat?

NHS - The pregnancy care planner: Vitamins, minerals and special diets

NHS - Exercise in pregnancy “Exercise builds muscle tone, strength and stamina, which can help your body cope with pregnancy weight gain (12.7kg, or two stones, on average). Exercise can also make it easier to regain pre-pregnancy fitness levels after the birth, and can help offset constipation, tiredness and circulation problems. General dos and don’ts • Do remember that the appropriate level of exercise will depend on how fit you were before becoming pregnant. • Do wear loose, comfortable clothes. Drink plenty of fluids and don't allow yourself to get overheated as this can be harmful to the baby. • Do take a gentle approach to exercises that put strain on joints and ligaments. During pregnancy women are more vulnerable to joint and ligament injury because the body produces relaxin, a hormone which loosens joints and ligaments in preparation for childbirth. • Do listen to your body. Dizziness and fatigue is not uncommon in the first trimester and some women lose their balance more easily in the second and third trimesters as the baby grows and their centre of gravity shifts. Stop and consult your health care provider if you experience vaginal bleeding, shortness of breath, palpitations (faster heartbeat) or pain in the back or pelvis. • Do avoid contact sports and any activity with a potential for hard falls, such as horse riding. • Don’t exercise in order to lose weight during pregnancy as this may harm your baby. • Don’t exercise flat on your back as this can restrict the flow of blood to the womb. • Don't use saunas or steam rooms. They can make you too hot, which can be harmful to the baby. If you can’t talk easily while exercising, you’re overdoing it, so slow down. “

Highlighted Articles

Don’t bat Your Eyes at FAS (2008) “The effects of drinking while pregnant can be profound and obvious, with telltale signs of atypical facial features like small eye openings, a small upper lip and a flat nose bridge. However, some children have been heavily exposed, yet do not exhibit the marked features, leaving their developmental deficits undiagnosed. In addition to atypical facial features indicative of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), heavily drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause reduced growth and cognitive development. Many children with FAS have poor reasoning and judgment skills, learning disabilities and poor coordination. If diagnosed early, some of these deficits can be offset with intervention programs. But that early diagnosis is difficult in patients without the obvious physical signs. A simple test to identify alcohol-exposed children can be done in the blink of an eye -- literally! Researchers from Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit found performing an eyeblink conditioning test -- sounding a tone followed by a quick puff of air to the eye over several trials to see if the subject can learn to blink before the air puff -- was fairly conclusive.“

Treating Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (2008) “Results of a new study reveal the prenatal damage to peptides in the fetal brain may endure into adulthood despite environmental enrichment provided in a child's early years.”

Cigarette smoking during pregnancy. (Nicotine Tob Res. 2008) “Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with several adverse developmental outcomes in the offspring. These include preterm delivery, spontaneous abortion, growth restriction, increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as long-term behavioral and psychiatric disorders.”

Effect of a single bout of exercise on the mood of pregnant women. (J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2007) "CONCLUSIONS: Although the physiological and hormonal reactions are different for aqua- and land-based exercise both modes of exercise appear to be equally beneficial for pregnant women to engage in to improve mood. Additionally, exercise, but not parentcraft classes, resulted in enhanced mood in women in their 2(nd) or 3(rd) trimester of pregnancy. Although exercise has mood benefits that are comparable to other mood management techniques, it also has additional physiological and physical benefits to both the mother and the fetus."

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General Information


Exercising Moms-to-Be Have Less Chubby Babies, Study Finds

Physically fit kids have beefier brain white matter than their less-fit peers

Pregnant Women Sleep Better With Moderate Exercise

Vitamin D levels during pregnancy linked to offspring muscle strength


Diabetes Mellitus and Pregnancy


Exercise in pregnancy (Aust Fam Physician. 2014)

Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy: the Mediterranean reality (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2014))

Prescribing physical activity to prevent and manage gestational diabetes (World J Diabetes. 2013 )

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