Pregnancy Pathway, Pregnancy — Behavior: Avoiding Risks

Some­times it seems like preg­nancy is a time of restric­tions. Avoid­ing risks can be one thing that makes it seem that way. But, bear with us here in an inter­est­ing trip through dan­ger and find­ing you find ways of enhanc­ing your pregnancy!

Risk Fac­tor #1:

Lack of pre­na­tal care. More than any­thing else, be sure you have care. Hav­ing some­one mon­i­tor your health and that of your baby dur­ing preg­nancy is vital to a good out­come.

Risk Fac­tor #2:

Not exer­cis­ing. Seden­tary behav­ior increases the risk for meta­bolic, car­dio­vas­cu­lar and immune disorders.

I know, I know, you don’t have time to exer­cise. Well, pay now or pay later, as they say. Make time to go to a class (make sure it includes 20 –30 min­utes of aer­o­bics) a cou­ple times a week. A class will also pro­vide social sup­port, another fac­tor that enhances your preg­nancy. Take a walk at lunch time. Prac­tice relax­ation techniques.

Risk Fac­tor #3:

Breath­ing dan­ger­ous fumes. Yes, this includes smok­ing and second-hand smoke. But, it also means avoid­ing envi­ron­ments where there is a lot smog (near high­ways), liv­ing with mold or dust, and fancy cleansers that may have dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals in them. Stick with vine­gar, ammo­nia or bleach as cleansers.

Smog can endanger your fetus!

Smog can endan­ger your fetus!

We are learn­ing that com­bus­tion exhaust from cars and trucks can neg­a­tively affect birth weight and pre­ma­tu­rity. If you live or work near a high­way or in an area where smog is preva­lent, what are your options? Can you trans­fer or move? Can you wear a mask? Talk to your care provider and fig­ure out the best pro­tec­tion for you and your fetus.

Risk Fac­tor #4:

Poor Nutri­tion. Yup, just go back one entry and find out how food affects preg­nancy. If you don’t eat enough pro­tein and drink enough water, you don’t make suf­fi­cient blood vol­ume to nour­ish your pla­centa and thus your fetus.

Read labels!

Read labels!

Eat whole foods and learn to read labels when you buy processed foods. What is a “processed” food? Any­thing with more than one ingredient!

Some pro­cess­ing (ex: home­made soup) takes lit­tle nutri­tion away, but some pro­cess­ing (ex: potato chips) takes every­thing good away and replaces it with unsafe sub­stances. Look for low sodium, low sugar, high vit­a­min and min­eral con­tent items with no sat­u­rated or trans fats.

Read the ingre­di­ents; if you don’t know what the words mean, maybe you want to pass it up.

Risk Fac­tor #5:

Alco­hol and Drugs. Com­mon items can be as dan­ger­ous as street drugs, which

There is plenty of time in life for a glass of wine...later.

There is plenty of time in life for a glass of wine…later.

No. No. No. Only meds from your prenatal care provider are okay.

No. No. No. Only meds from your pre­na­tal care provider are okay.

Caffeine? Only one cup & only if you must.

Caf­feine? Only one cup & only if you must.

can severely com­pro­mise you baby’s future. If you have a drug or alco­hol habit, get help.

Risk Fac­tor #6:

Genet­ics. You can have genetic pre­dis­po­si­tions for many preg­nancy issues. How­ever, that does not nec­es­sar­ily mean you will develop a given dis­or­der. For exam­ple, nutri­tion and exer­cise greatly reduce the risk and sever­ity of meta­bolic issues. Some genetic issues are unavoid­able how­ever, and your care provider will alert you to these, if they are relevant.

Risk Fac­tor #7:

Social issues — iso­la­tion, lack of sup­port, abuse, poverty. All of these fac­tors can have neg­a­tive effects.

If iso­la­tion is a sim­ple mat­ter of need­ing to meet other moms-to-be, join an exer­cise pro­gram. That way, you get both sup­port and exer­cise; just be sure it includes aer­o­bics, along with cen­ter­ing, relax­ation and appro­pri­ate strength.

If your sit­u­a­tion is more dire, seek the help of a care provider or social worker at your local hos­pi­tal or clinic. Safety and sup­port are crit­i­cal for you at this time. Get the help you need. There are peo­ple who care. And, if you know of some­one who needs help, help them.

If you have other risk fac­tors to offer, please post them in the com­ments. Thanks!

What’s next?  BIRTH!!

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