Pregnancy can be an amazing time in a woman’s life. You’re literally creating a new person, and waiting for your baby to be born is exciting — but it’s also nerve-wracking. There are a lot of new responsibilities that come with pregnancy. When eating and caring for your body, you’re not only looking after yourself but for your baby. Lots of women fall prey to paranoia during their pregnancy, worrying about every single thing that they eat or drink. And though you should be cautious — and there are obvious things to avoid, like smoking and drinking alcohol — you shouldn’t let yourself become overly anxious either. Stress isn’t very good for the baby or for you.
Luckily, with a little bit of research, you’ll easily be able to devise not only what you can eat, but what you should eat. Taking the right supplements not only will help your baby as it grows, but hopefully, help your body adjust to pregnancy. There are normal aches and pains that come with carrying a baby; for example, over half of pregnant women experience lower back pain, due to ligament laxity, as well as a shifting center of gravity. Preparing your body properly will help you endure the changes a bit more easily. With that being said, let’s look into what you can do — and what you should take — to take care of yourself during your pregnancy. Furthermore, we’re going to cover what you’ll want to avoid as well.
Do: Take Prenatal Vitamins
It’s very likely that when you first find out you’re pregnant, your doctor will advise that you take prenatal vitamins. While some women don’t take this advice very seriously — especially due to recent research on vitamins, which indicates that when they’re taken by mouth they have a limited level of absorption, as they’re broken down in the stomach — they should. Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to help pregnant women’s bodies strengthen in preparation for the process, and of course, they aid in fetal growth as well. In fact, you should start taking prenatal vitamins while you’re actively trying to conceive. They can help prevent preeclampsia, and additionally are beneficial while you’re breastfeeding!
Don’t: Use CBD
Most of the time, there isn’t anything wrong with CBD oil, or other types of CBD products. A plant extract, it has actually been used for thousands of years, aiding in overall wellness. However, if you regularly take CBD products before pregnancy, you may want to lay off of it after you become pregnant. There just isn’t enough research on the issue and, in general, doctors advise that pregnant women avoid marijuana or related supplements. Marijuana usage has been linked to low birth weights, along with other negative side effects like issues with fetal brain development. If you used CBD or marijuana to deal with problems like insomnia, depression, or anxiety, talk to your doctor about alternative ways to treat these issues — that won’t negatively affect your pregnancy.
Do: Supplement With Folate
Folate is a B vitamin, and it’s crucial to fetal development — it’s also, of course, good for the mother as she goes through her pregnancy. Pregnant women are recommended to take about 600 ug of folate or folic acid on a daily basis. This will help prevent congenital abnormalities, like cleft palates, or issues with neural tube developments. Now, you can potentially get the folate that you need for your regular diet; but many women don’t, and supplementing with folate simply ensures that you don’t need to worry about eating those foods in particular. You’ll definitely want to start supplementing as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Many of the defects that can be prevented by folate intake occur early in pregnancies, and the sooner you start taking folate the less likely it will be that you’ll experience fetal birth defects.
Don’t: Overdue Vitamin A
Many people think that all vitamins are good during pregnancy — and typically, vitamins are beneficial! However, too much of a good thing an lead to harmful side effects. While you may end up taking in vitamin A through the food that you eat, you won’t want to add supplements — and if you’re taking them now, cut them out of your diet once you know you’re pregnant, or even while you’re trying to conceive. Taking too much vitamin A can harm your liver, as well as the fetus. Excessive vitamin A can also cause birth defects. You don’t need any more of it than what you’re getting through your diet and prenatal vitamins.
Do: Try Probiotics
More and more, women are becoming interested in supplementing with probiotics. There are many benefits to taking probiotics before pregnancy, but they’re also beneficial for pregnant women in general. They are considered to take during pregnancy, and they have been linked to several advantages for pregnant women. There is evidence that they reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, as well as infant eczema and dermatitis, and even postpartum depression.
Don’t: Try Dong Quai
As an alternative to probiotics, lots of women are also interested in Eastern medicine. While this is often fine and sometimes beneficial outside of pregnancy, some products — like the popular dong quai, an often-used root — are dangerous for pregnant women. Often used to treat menstrual cramps and high blood pressure, they can trigger uterine cramps. These contractions can, of course, cause a risk of miscarriage. Therefore, avoid dong quai at all costs.
Again, don’t be paranoid during pregnancy — but you should double-check what you take. It’s up to you to take the best possible care of yourself and your baby throughout its development!