Undoubtedly, pregnancy is the best experience a woman can have in her life. However, in some cases, carrying a fetus can pose risks for both the baby and the mother. If measures are not taken in a timely manner, the consequences can sometimes be irreversible. Today, we will provide advice to expectant mothers on how to avoid complications during pregnancy.
Who can be affected by complications?
Most pregnant women are not concerned about this issue, and their preparation for childbirth is limited to things like packing a bag for the hospital, making a list of necessary items for the mother and baby, as well as buying toys, clothes, cribs, and strollers for the child. However, other expectant mothers are deeply concerned about this issue, and we will provide an answer to their question.
A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco revealed that 6-8% of all expectant mothers experience complications during pregnancy. Yes, this number is reassuring, but every woman is at risk of experiencing them.
It should be noted that every pregnancy is unique, and there is no guarantee that complications will not occur in a particular case. Furthermore, the same woman may experience each pregnancy differently. To avoid such unpleasant “surprises,” one should be armed and prepared.
What can trigger complications?
Of course, we don’t want to scare you or push you to search for what can trigger difficulties in carrying your future baby. Let’s just clarify the risk factors for complications during pregnancy that need to be considered:
- Age. Women younger than 18 and older than 35 are at a significantly higher risk of complications. In the former case, it is due to the immaturity of the reproductive system, and in the latter case, it is due to decreased fertility.
- Medical history. Women diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, or other chronic diseases may have a more challenging pregnancy.
- Multiple pregnancy. It should be noted that both fetuses require equal amounts of nutrients, oxygen, and other needs for proper development, which can impact the health of the pregnant woman.
- Complications in previous pregnancies. If there were premature births or preeclampsia in previous pregnancies, the risk of complications persists in subsequent ones.
- Harmful habits. Smoking, drug use, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and obesity – all of these factors can increase the risk of gestational complications.
- Infections. Sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections are particularly dangerous.
These are just the main factors that can worsen the course of pregnancy. Therefore, it is crucial to follow all the doctor’s recommendations, visit them according to the schedule, and promptly seek treatment for any complications that may arise during pregnancy.
Is it possible to prevent complications?
Unfortunately, not all types of gestational complications can be prevented due to physiological factors. However, a woman who pays proper attention to her health can increase the chances of a normal pregnancy and, as a result, the birth of a healthy baby. Let’s list a few aspects of effective pregnancy complication prevention.
Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
Folic acid helps prevent serious neural tube defects in the baby, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. These fetal complications develop in the early stages of pregnancy when the neural tube, which forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, does not close properly. It is recommended to start taking folic acid one month before pregnancy and continue throughout the entire pregnancy.
The recommended dosage of folic acid can be obtained through a prenatal vitamin complex and by consuming certain types of foods, including legumes, eggs, leafy greens, beets, bananas, beef liver, and many others.
Stay up to date with all vaccinations.
In January 2023, the National Health Service in England published an article emphasizing the importance of vaccinations during pregnancy. The essence is as follows:
“Some vaccines, including the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, are recommended during pregnancy to protect both the mother and the baby. The inactivated vaccine does not contain a live version of the virus. If a vaccine contains a live version of the virus, it is generally recommended to wait until after the baby is born before receiving such a vaccination.”
This preventive measure should definitely be taken into account, but before receiving any vaccination, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional regarding the specific type of vaccine.
Before getting pregnant, strive to achieve a healthy weight.
Women who are obese before pregnancy are at a higher risk of complications. Excess weight also increases the risk of several serious birth defects in pregnant women. Therefore, one way to prevent complications during pregnancy is to gradually reduce body weight.
Quit smoking and alcohol before pregnancy.
Alcohol reaches the developing fetus through the umbilical cord. Its consumption during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual abnormalities. These disorders are commonly known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Therefore, one of the proper and beneficial advice for pregnant women is to refrain from alcohol even before conception.
The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature births, certain birth defects (such as cleft lip or palate), and infant mortality. Even passive smoking exposes the woman and her pregnancy to the risk of problems.
Undoubtedly, it is not easy to lose weight or quit smoking in an instant. But if you have decided to take on such responsibility – becoming parents – think about whether the health and overall future of your little one are worth even a single cigarette or unhealthy burger. Take care of yourself and your little one! And our blog about children is ready to be your guide in the boundless world of parenthood!
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