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8 Practical Tips for Pregnancy: Comfort and Safety

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Pregnancy is a time for joy and an occasional relaxing day. Here are some practical tips on comfort and safety during this wonderful time.

ē Avoid Smoking

Smoking in general can cause health problems. Even if you donít smoke, being around someone who does smoke during your pregnancy can increase chances of health problems for you and your unborn child.

Smoking narrows the blood vessels in the placenta and umbilical cord that delivers oxygen to your unborn baby. When this happens, it limits the amount of oxygen your baby gets. It can cause low birth weight and other health problems once the baby is born such as chronic wheezing and other lung problems.

Avoid places where smoking is prevalent including friendsí homes. If your friend doesnít understand why show them statistics on smoking and the consequences to your unborn child. If your friend still doesnít understand, then try to keep limited exposure. Most friends will be very helpful even if they are a smoke-around-the-clock type person.

ē Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause complications during and after birth. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS is a condition that can cause low birth weight, many physical deformities and mental retardation.

Even small amounts of drinking alcohol can be bad for your health. It hasnít been proven otherwise. As soon as the pregnancy is confirmed, it is recommended to stop alcohol consumption at once.

Avoid alcohol during nursing, as alcohol can be easily passed to the baby during breastfeeding. Even small amounts could harm the babyís growing systems.

ē Avoid Caffeine

Since studies have been inconclusive about whether caffeine is bad for you, it should be moderated or even avoided during pregnancy.

Caffeine like most substances can cross the placenta, the set of blood vessels that help feed the baby. Moderate use is about three cups of coffee a day or six cans of caffeinated soda.

Caffeine can cause upset stomach and in some cases promote nausea

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especially during the first four months when morning sickness is at itís worse. Avoiding caffeine or moderating it during this time can help lessen these symptoms.

ē Moderate Herbal Usage: If Itís Not for Culinary Use, Then Avoid It

In culinary use, or in the kitchen (and the food), herbs are used in small portions or in a form that wonít cause many problems. But some herbs can cause uterine contractions and can even harm the baby if taken in the right form and dosage. Avoid oils of herbs as these tend to be higher in concentration.

Some herbal remedies are safe. Others are not. Talk to your health care provider about which herbs are safe during pregnancy.

ē Take Your Prenatal Vitamins

These vitamins have minerals and other substances that have been deemed vital in the health of your unborn baby. Some prenatal vitamins have a mild laxative that can help ease the constipation that some women have during pregnancy.

Folic acid, included in the prenatal vitamins, can help reduce certain birth defects.

Nutrition is also important during pregnancy and the prenatal vitamins donít work alone. But they do help with energy levels and increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy.

ē Travel in Comfort

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can travel just about anywhere during your pregnancy. Planning ahead, as with any travel plans, is best.

You want to be comfortable during traveling time, whether riding in a car, on a bus or on a plane. Make sure you list all the places that you might stop for rest. Donít try to over plan or plan too much.

Make a list of comfort items. Do you have a maternity pillow yet? There are several different types of pillows that can help ease discomfort during pregnancy. Some have a foam support. Some are double pillows that have a front for your ever growing belly and support your back.

Itís a good thing to tell your doctor if you are traveling anywhere. They may be able to give you tips.

ē Wear Comfortable Clothes and

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With a growing belly and a waist size, comfortable clothes and shoes during pregnancy are a must. But what is comfortable?

A lightweight material clothing is best, something that breathes and allows flexibility. Most sections of department stores and chain stores have a maternity section with plus size clothes that are meant for pregnancy women.

But donít think you must get maternity clothes to be comfortable. Jogging pants and sweat suits are possibilities.

You probably donít want to wear high heels when you are pregnant. Perhaps early in the pregnancy you can, but once the weight is put on and the body is starting to feel the pregnancy it is doubtful that high heels would be comfortable especially when walking or traveling.

A good pair of tennis shoes or sneakers is ideal. Slip-on sneakers are ideal especially at the end of pregnancy for when the time actually comes, you want to be prepared and not have to worry about putting on your shoes and tying them.

ē Donít Overdo It: Supermom Syndrome

At one time or another mothers seem to become Supermom, avenger of kids, wife, chef and 24/7 house cleaner. The list goes on.

Donít become Supermom if you donít have to. Allow others to help you during this wonderful time of pregnancy. If you have kids already, then let them do the dishes for a day. Have your husband take out the trash tonight.

Learning meditation techniques and safe yoga practices can help in the process of relaxation. Ask your doctor which exercises might be good for you and your growing baby.

Follow these previous tips and you will have a safe and comfortable pregnancy. Itís time to relax and nurture the baby growing inside you.

Katina Mooneyham is the contributing editor for Little Gardeners (http://www.gardenandhearth.com/LittleGardeners.htm), a site dedicated to helping parents and teachers get kids involved in gardening. She is dedicated to teaching her children, writing and gardening.



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