Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible and life-changing experiences that require the utmost care and attention. While they bring immeasurable joy, they also come with the risk of birth complications that can have significant and long-lasting consequences for both the mother and child.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent many birth complications through proper prenatal care and healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, according to the CDC, about 3 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented by optimizing women’s health before pregnancy and providing high-quality care during pregnancy and childbirth.
With that said, let’s explore how to prevent birth complications and achieve a healthy pregnancy and childbirth journey.
- Choose a Qualified Healthcare Provider
Choosing a qualified and experienced healthcare provider ensures a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Your healthcare provider will monitor your pregnancy, perform routine tests, and provide guidance and support throughout your journey.
Additionally, an experienced healthcare professional has the necessary training and expertise to recognize and manage potential childbirth complications. Many birth complications can occur, among which some are preventable with proper prenatal care. For example, Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that can happen when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery. An experienced healthcare professional can help prevent this injury by monitoring the baby’s size and position throughout pregnancy and using appropriate techniques during delivery.
If your baby have suffered injuries during childbirth due to the doctor’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. For instance, if your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. You can search for organizations assisting families in finding resources and information to file Erb’s palsy lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, ongoing care, and other damages related to the birth injury.
- Seek Regular Prenatal Care
Regular prenatal care is vital to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It involves ongoing check-ups with your obstetrician or healthcare provider to monitor your health and your baby’s development. Regular prenatal care helps detect and manage potential complications early on, reducing the risk of more significant health problems for you and your baby.
During prenatal visits, your healthcare provider will perform necessary tests, such as blood pressure and urine analysis, to check for potential health concerns. They will also monitor your baby’s growth and development, check their heart rate, and screen for genetic or congenital abnormalities.
- Get Enough Rest
During pregnancy, the body undergoes numerous changes that can lead to fatigue and disturb sleep. It is, therefore, essential to prioritize sleep and rest, as this helps the body to repair and rejuvenate. It is recommended that expectant mothers prioritize rest, aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and take breaks to rest during the day.
Getting enough sleep allows the body to regulate hormone levels, including those responsible for appetite and metabolism and reduces the risk of complications like gestational diabetes.
Lack of sleep during pregnancy can raise the likelihood of preterm labor and low birth weight.
- Eat a Healthy and Well-Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy to ensure fetal growth and development. Pregnant women must follow a diet abundant in whole foods, such as freshly produced fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
In addition, pregnant women must refrain from consuming certain foods that could harm the developing fetus. Such foods include raw or undercooked meat, fish containing high levels of mercury, unpasteurized dairy products, and processed foods with high sugar and unhealthy fat content.
- Avoid Teratogen Substances
Pregnant women must avoid teratogen as they can harm the developing fetus. These substances include alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other harmful drugs that can devastate the unborn child.
Research has demonstrated that consuming alcohol during pregnancy may result in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), leading to congenital disabilities, developmental delays, and cognitive impairments. Smoking tobacco during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Pregnant women should also avoid exposure to chemicals, such as cleaning products, pesticides, and paint fumes, which can harm the developing fetus.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy is crucial for the mother’s and baby’s health. Women with a healthy body mass index (BMI) gain between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Women who are underweight or overweight may need to gain more or reduce weight to ensure the baby’s healthy growth and development.
Managing a healthy weight throughout pregnancy can minimize the likelihood of complications, including preterm birth and high blood pressure. Conversely, gaining excessive weight during pregnancy can elevate the risk of delivering a large baby, resulting in difficulties such as shoulder dystocia.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise during pregnancy is beneficial for both the mother and baby. It can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, improve mood and energy levels, and promote better sleep. Pregnant women should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise spread over a week.
Safe exercises you can do during pregnancy include low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, and cycling on a stationary bike. Avoid high-impact activities, contact sports, and practices that require lying flat on the back after the first trimester. However, consulting a healthcare provider before starting any exercise program is essential.
- Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins provide essential nutrients that may be lacking in a pregnant woman’s diet. These vitamins foster healthy growth and development of the fetus and promote the mother’s well-being during pregnancy and postpartum.
Some essential vitamins and minerals you can take during pregnancy include folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Folic acid is crucial in preventing brain and spine congenital disabilities. Calcium and vitamin D help the baby’s bone growth and development. At the same time, iron is essential for preventing anemia and supports the development of the baby’s blood cells.
It is important to take prenatal vitamins as your healthcare provider recommends, usually starting before conception and continuing throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Manage Your Diabetes and Hypertension
Properly managing diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy is critical in preventing potential birth complications. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy, it is crucial to control it effectively to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout gestation.
Likewise, if you have hypertension or gestational diabetes, your healthcare provider will work alongside you to create a personalized treatment plan to manage your condition. It may include adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and minimizing stress. In certain cases, medication may also be recommended.
Preventing potential birth complications is crucial for the mother and child’s health and overall well-being. Implementing the recommendations discussed above can significantly enhance the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Remember that each pregnancy is unique, and complications may still occur despite following best practices. Nevertheless, by partnering with your healthcare provider and staying well-informed, you can maximize the chances of achieving the best possible outcome for you and your baby.