Get the facts of preterm birth with this helpful guide.
WORDS TEO KUAN YEE
Every mother desires a safe and smooth delivery, and ultimately to cuddle a healthy, bouncy baby at the end of her pregnancy journey. A premature delivery arising from preterm labour is not advisable – there is a risk of developmental implications for the baby. While it may not be possible to prevent a preterm labour when it happens, staying healthy during your pregnancy will greatly reduce your chances of preterm delivery.
Engage a Gynaecologist Early
Arrange an appointment with a gynaecologist to kickstart a proper prenatal care regime as early as you can. Scheduling regular prenatal visits helps monitor the health of both yours and the growing foetus. At this early stage, it is also good to flag out to your doctor any symptoms or medical history. Your doctor can advise on the need for you to go for certain tests to screen for infections that can harm your pregnancy.
Certain vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid (a type of vitamin B), are essential and have to be taken early on – during the first month of your pregnancy – as it prevents serious birth defects such as spina bifida (opening in the spine). Your doctor may also prescribe a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid and other essential vitamins.
Adopt a Good Diet Plan
Your body is going to work extra hard during the next 40 weeks to feed and nourish the growing foetus inside your body. Hence, good nutrition is essential – it will not only help you meet the needs of your baby, but also maintains your health and primes your body for lactation after your delivery. Still, it is not advisable to eat for two. Quality matters – eat a variety of foods that include rice, fruits, vegetables, and meat to ensure that you have the right balance of nutrients, including milk, to meet your calcium needs. You may also obtain calcium supplements from your doctor to boost your calcium intake.
Monitor Your Weight Gain
It is advisable to aim for a healthy weight gain over the duration of the pregnancy. It depends on your Body Mass Index (BMI) and pre-pregnancy weight.
Gaining too much weight increases your risk of developing pregnancy complications
such as gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
It can also result in difficulties in losing weight post-delivery
which again increases the risks of developing diabetes,
high blood pressure and heart diseases as one ages.
Your doctor can also advise you on the right amount of weight gain for the optimal health of both you and baby, which will cut down the chances of obesity which can lead to birth complications.
Read this too!