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During Pregnancy - Your Care & Health Tips

Prenatal Check-ups
One of the most important things a woman can do when she's pregnant is to see a doctor and then keep regularly scheduled prenatal doctor visits. The doctor will be able to monitor both your health and the baby's, helping to catch issues early on. If you do not have a doctor, search our online directory for a doctor who can meet your needs.

Testing & Counseling During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, testing helps ensure the health of both mom and baby. Akron General offers state-of-the-art ultrasound technology and specialized testing such as amniocentesis, RH sensitization and percutaneous umbilical sampling (PUBS). These tests are typically scheduled by your doctor's office. Your doctor will review the results with you.

We also offer nutrition counseling for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, especially those who have special needs or are at risk for diabetes or gestational diabetes. Appointments can be made with or without a doctor’s order through our Central Scheduling line at 330-996-5760.

We’ve filled this section with tips and what you can expect as baby grows and your body changes.

Precautions

  • AVOID ALCOHOL: The Surgeon General of the United States has recommended that women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant not drink alcoholic beverages. Especially in the early weeks and months of pregnancy, drinking alcohol increases the risk of birth defects and other abnormalities.
  • AVOID TOBACCO: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and public health and lung associations all strongly support the warning that smoking may complicate pregnancy. Because smoking during pregnancy, including second-hand smoke, has been linked with low birth weight and premature birth, it is important that you encourage the mother-to-be to avoid smoking, and facilitate a smoke-free environment for your developing child.
  • EAT RIGHT Talk with your healthcare provider about how much weight gain is appropriate for you, and ask about a vitamin-mineral supplement. You need increased amounts of nutrients to help ensure your own health and the proper growth of your developing baby.
  • MINIMIZE MEDICATIONS AND CAFFEINE: Don’t take any medicines while you are pregnant - including aspirin and laxatives - without your doctor’s approval. This is particularly important in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when so many of your baby’s organs are developing. Also, discuss the effects of caffeine with your doctor.
  • ENHANCE PERSONAL CARE: Enhancing your personal hygiene during pregnancy helps protect you and your baby from illness and infection.
  • RECOGNIZE PREGNANCY DISCOMFORTS: Being aware of common pregnancy discomforts and ways to prevent them will help lessen the alarm and discomfort that most every mother encounters.

Nutrition

  • BREADS, CEREALS, RICE AND PASTA: Whole-grain and enriched breads, cereals, pasta and rice provide fiber, minerals and vitamins as well as the energy you need. Eat at least nine servings every day during your pregnancy.
  • FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Eat three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables each day. These foods contain vitamins, minerals and fiber – a natural laxative. Eat vitamin C-rich citrus fruits, melons and berries often, and a variety of dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli), deep yellow vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes) and starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas).
  • MILK, YOGURT AND CHEESE: Three servings of low-fat or skim milk, yogurt or cheese per day are necessary to give you the calcium you need.
  • PROTEIN: You need three servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans or nuts each day. Protein supplies the nutrients to maintain muscle, produce blood and fight disease. Choose lean meats and trim off fat and skin before cooking. Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, poaching or broiling.
  • FATS, OILS AND SWEETS: Limit your use of fats, oils and sweets.
  • WATER: Drink at least 6-8 glasses each day to help flush waste products. Limit beverages that contain sugar and caffeine.
  • AVOID ALCOHOL: The Surgeon General of the United States has recommended that women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant not drink alcoholic beverages. Especially in the early weeks and months of pregnancy, drinking alcohol increases the risk of birth defects and other abnormalities.
  • AVOID TOBACCO: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and public health and lung associations all strongly support the warning that smoking may complicate pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked with low birth weight and premature birth.
  • MINIMIZE MEDICATIONS AND CAFFEINE: Don’t take any medicines while you are pregnant - including aspirin and laxatives - without your doctor’s approval. This is particularly important in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when so many of your baby’s organs are developing. Also, discuss the effects of caffeine with your doctor.

Comforts & Discomforts

  • SLEEP: Many pregnant women need extra sleep, but some find it difficult to get. If shortness of breath interferes with your sleep, lie on your left side with your head and shoulders propped up with pillows. Try sleeping sitting up in a recliner. Don’t take any sleeping medicine, including herbal formulas, without consulting your healthcare professional first.
  • BODY CARE: External cleaning is usually all that is needed to keep the vaginal area free of the normal increase of whitish or pale yellow discharge during pregnancy. Try a panty liner to protect your clothes. Tell your doctor if you have a great deal of discharge or if the discharge has an odor, burns or itches. Ask your doctor before douching during pregnancy.
  • SEXUAL INTERCOURSE: Sexual intercourse usually is permissible as long as the pregnant woman is not uncomfortable and has no bleeding or cramps. Discuss specific questions with your doctor or nurse.
  • MORNING SICKNESS: You may experience morning sickness in the form of nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy. This is a normal result of your body’s adjustment to pregnancy and can happen at any time of the day, not just in the morning. Here are some hints to help cope: eat crackers or dry toast when you wake up; avoid having an empty stomach by eating five or six small meals a day that contain some protein; avoid foods or smells that make you nauseous; and get a lot of rest. Call your health professional if you are vomiting more than three times a day, or if you are losing weight.
  • NAUSEA: To avoid nausea, eat 4-5 small meals a day rather than three large ones. Don’t let your stomach become empty, eat crackers before arising, and maintain a well balanced diet with a lot of B vitamins.
  • FATIGUE: Listen to your body. Rest!
  • STUFFY NOSE: Try saline nose drops or a warm compress to relieve a stuffy nose.
  • BACKACHE: Maintain proper posture, use good body mechanics, or try pelvic tilt exercises to relieve the tension from a backache.
  • CONSTIPATION: To prevent constipation, eat lots of foods with bulk such as whole grains, bran, raw vegetables, and fresh and dried fruits. Also drink lots of water and fruit juices, get regular exercise such as walking, and incorporate these activities into your daily habits and lifestyle.
  • LEG CRAMPS: To help prevent leg cramps, adjust the calcium/phosphorus ratio in your diet and talk to your doctor. Calf stretches also help prevent this common pregnancy discomfort.
  • HEARTBURN: To avoid heartburn, eat small and frequent meals, and avoid fatty or highly spiced foods, and ice cold, very hot or carbonated beverages. Also avoid lying down immediately after a meal.
  • SHORTNESS OF BREATH: Maintain correct posture, use good body mechanics, and sleep propped up with pillows to prevent shortness of breath.
  • SWELLING IN LEGS AND FEET: To prevent swelling in your legs and feet, sit, swim or walk in water, increase your fluid intake, sit instead of stand or lie down instead of sit, and elevate your feet several times a day. You can also do foot twirls, or apply support hose after your legs have been elevated to help ease the discomfort of swelling.
  • VARICOSE VEINS: To prevent varicose veins, elevate your legs at a right angle to your body 2-5 minutes several times a day, wear support hose and avoid “knees-locked” and “legs-crossed” positions. A warm bath also helps to soothe your legs.
  • HEMORRHOIDS: Avoid constipation and do Kegel exercises for circulation to avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy.


Date Updated: 13-OCT-2014



Akron General Medical Center • 1 Akron General Avenue (Formerly 400 Wabash Avenue) • Akron, OH 44307 • 330-344-6000 • 1-800-221-4601    © 2014 Akron General Health System
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