Staying healthy during gestation starts with keeping all appointments with your doctor and alerting your doctor if you suspect something may not be right with your pregnancy. Women over three months pregnant should see their doctor every month for a check-up and ultrasound. During the seventh, eighth, and ninth months of pregnancy, women should undergo a pelvic exam at every monthly visit to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally.
How Much Weight Should Pregnant Women Gain?
Gaining weight is essential for the healthy growth and development of the fetus. However, too much or too little weight gain may cause health issues for the mother and her baby. For example, gaining too much weight puts women at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and pre-eclampsia. It can also make a natural delivery or a C-section more difficult. Lack of sufficient weight gain during pregnancy could also lead to nutritional deficiencies affecting the health of the mother and the baby as well.
How much weight a pregnant woman should gain depends on how much she weighed before getting pregnant. According to the U.S. National Institutes for Health:
- Underweight women–increase normal weight by 30 and 40 pounds
- Normal weight women–increase normal weight by 25 and 35 pounds
- Overweight women–increase normal weight by 15 and 25 pounds
- Obese women–gain no more than 20 pounds
Dietary Requirements of a Healthy Pregnancy
In addition to a diet composed primarily of vegetables, lean meat, and fruits, nutritional needs during pregnancy include certain vitamins and minerals essential to the health of the mother and fetus which include:
- Folic acid – contributes significantly to the normal development of a baby’s spine, brain, and the whole nervous system. Mothers should take folic acid supplements (400 to 600 mg) throughout their pregnancy. Doctors also recommend that women who are trying to conceive should begin taking folic acid supplements before they get pregnant.
- Iron – ensures the fetus is receiving enough blood and oxygen while growing in the uterus. Pregnant women should receive 25 to 30 mg of iron daily.
- Vitamin B12 – helps keep the mother’s blood and nerve cells healthy while promoting normal development of DNA in fetal cells. The recommended dosage of daily vitamin B12 is 2.5 to 3.0 micrograms.
- Vitamin A – is important for embryonic growth and the development of fetal physiological systems. Vitamin A can also help with repairing tissues postpartum. Take 770 micrograms each day during pregnancy.
- Calcium – vital to supporting the development of a baby’s bones and teeth and maintaining healthy teeth and bones in women during pregnancy. Gestating women should get at least 1000 milligrams of calcium per day.
Prenatal vitamins are available at pharmacies and department stores. Some prenatal vitamins offer higher vitamin and mineral amounts to accommodate pregnant women with nutritional deficiencies.
Exercising During Pregnancy
Staying physically active (but not overdoing it) during pregnancy not only keeps a mother-to-be and her baby healthy but it may also help reduce labor times and labor difficulties. Exercising eases pregnancy-related aches and pains and decreases the risk of recurring constipation, varicose veins, and leg cramps. Walking, swimming, performing yoga poses, and indoor cycling are excellent exercises for women even in the later stages of pregnancy.
Don’t Forget to Visit the Dentist
Estrogen and progesterone levels start rising as soon as a woman’s body “knows” it is pregnant. These hormones are necessary for supporting placental and fetal growth and inducing labor. Unfortunately, estrogen and progesterone promote the growth of oral bacteria and plaque. Women who smoke, neglect to take prenatal vitamins, eat too many sugary foods, and don’t brush their teeth twice a day are at risk for tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis). Signs of gingivitis include purplish-red, swollen gums, and bleeding gums. Part of staying healthy during gestation includes dental visits for examinations and cleanings.
Gestation and You
Staying healthy during gestation resulting from IVF or IUI involves the same advice given to women who became pregnant through sexual intercourse. Doctors and staff at Viera Reproductive Clinic in Melbourne carefully monitor a woman’s health following assisted reproductive technology procedure resulting in pregnancy. If you are having difficulty conceiving, please call our clinic today at 321.751.HOPE to schedule a consultation appointment.