The risks of stress during pregnancy and antenatal care
Antenatal care is more challenging than postpartum care and dealing with postpartum depression. In this “new mommy” exclusive article we offer all the lovely new mothers some medical tips on pregnancy and antenatal care. By reading through you will know how to avoid having a low birth weight baby, a preterm baby or a premature birth.
Let’s start with what we know; Research shows that 75% of new mothers reported at least one major stressful event during pregnancy. Antenatal maternal stress is thought to have negative effects on fetal development, birth outcomes, and infant’s development. This can happen as early as 17 weeks from conception. resulting in a higher premature baby birth rate, complications of prematurity and other signs of an unhealthy newborn baby.
Q: What’s the best baby weight at birth anyway?
A: An ideal or average newborn baby weight at birth in Kilograms ranges between 2.7 to 4 kilograms.
How does stress affect your newborn baby?
Studies report that high levels of cortisol stress hormone during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases during times of stress. Normally, cortisol levels increase by two to four folds during pregnancy. However, when cortisol increases far beyond that range, both immediate and long-term impacts may occur. Immediate effects of increased cortisol include having decreased blood flow to the fetus. This then leads to the baby being deprived of oxygen and necessary nutrients. Longer-lasting effects include influencing the child’s response to stress later in life
Q: “But all other women I know are afraid of pregnancy and birth. They are as stressed and anxious as I am. So are we all not getting the healthy babies we wished for?”
A: Not necessarily. Let’s help you with what you can do to reduce the risks of having low birth weight babies and premature birth.
Improving per-conceptional health can greatly improve your overall health and your newborn baby’s health in turn. “Nourish the soil before you plant the seed”.
Here are 7 prenatal mother health tips and medical information.
Brought to you by TABIBI 24/7 pediatricians and family doctors
Go for a preconception check-up
The goal of this checkup is to find things that could affect your pregnancy. Identifying these factors before the early signs of pregnancy helps you to take careful steps. These steps can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy period and a healthy new born baby. During this visit, your healthcare professional or pregnancy doctor will ask about:
- Your diet and lifestyle.
- Your medical and family history of chronic or inherited diseases.
- Medications you take for any health problems.
- Any previous pregnancies.
Be at your optimal weight
Your optimal weight gain during pregnancy should be somewhere between 11 to 18 kilograms. This depends on your weight before seeing signs of pregnancy symptoms. If you stray away from your healthy weight during pregnancy, you may experience several pregnancy and childbirth complications. Examples are high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. Don’t be surprised when you know that obesity during pregnancy is also associated with macrosomia. Macrosomia is simply having a larger-than-normal baby. This may raise risks of birth injury and cesarean delivery. It also increases the risk of birth defects, especially neural tube defects. Having too much body fat may make it more difficult for your healthcare provider to monitor your fetus with ultrasound and to hear the heartbeats of the fetus.
Being underweight also poses risks during pregnancy. It increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby, it also increases the risk of preterm birth.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs during pregnancy can have harmful effects on a fetus. Smoking can actually double the risks of having low baby weight at birth and an unhealthy birth. The time when the fetus is most vulnerable to the harmful effects of drinking and smoking is during the first trimester of pregnancy. Many women stop using them after they learn they are pregnant, which is good. However, the most important fetal development takes place in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is before most women see any early pregnancy symptoms!
Prenatal vitamins, omega 3 and iron supplements.
Every woman of childbearing age should take a multi-vitamin containing at least 400 micro grams of folic acid and 30 mg to 60 mg of elemental iron on a daily basis. Although most of your nutrients should come from the foods you eat, it is still a good idea to start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement before pregnancy. Prenatal vitamin supplements contain all the recommended daily vitamins and minerals you will need before and during your pregnancy.
Share your family health histories with your doctor
Some health conditions occur more often in certain families. Genetic or inherited disorders are examples. If a close relative has a certain condition, you or your baby could be at greater risk of having it. Genetic testing and fetal screening before and during pregnancy is very important. Ask about the pregnancy tests that TABIBI 24/7 can support you with at home or at the clinics.
Protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
Vaccination can prevent some STIs. Tests are crucial if you suspect that you or your partner may have any. Some vaccines are not safe to use during pregnancy. It is important to know which vaccines you may need and to get them before becoming pregnant.
Treat any signs of depression or anxiety
Women should treat depression, evaluate and treat stress, be sure they are in a healthy relationship, be physically active and gather family support.
Our family doctors and pediatricians are available for 24-hour antenatal care home visits and advice.
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