The Gift of Life; What to Expect with a Baby!

When a couple discovers that a new baby is on the way, foremost in their mind is a healthy baby and safe delivery. Everyday day activities that formerly needed no consideration now must be looked at in light of the baby and mother’s health. Making the lifestyle choices that protect both mother and baby become paramount for the new parents as everything the mother encounters can adversely affect the baby’s health. One of the first things new parents must learn is becoming educated as to the needs of the mother and the baby. This includes finding out what to do during pregnancy, the delivery and the first few months of the baby’s life to ensure a healthy and happy experience for the new family. Within this article, there are important links and resources for new parents looking for more information.

Genetics

Each parent contributes genes that join to create the new being within the mother. These genes combine to determine things such as eye and hair color, bone and physical structure of the baby and more. While genes can play a part in congenital birth defects, new parents can take steps to prevent or diminish these effects. Mothers must eat a nutritional diet and avoid exposure to toxic elements or chemicals. New parents concerned with potential genetic issues have several resources available to them.

Nutrition

Eating a balanced and healthy diet is critical for the health of both baby and mother. Taking a prenatal vitamin along with a healthy nutritious diet goes a long way to ensuring a healthy pregnancy and baby. Since everything the mother eats is passed onto the baby, she must avoid heating foods that are not healthy for either of them such as fried and spicy foods. A healthy diet consists of eating foods from all the food groups as well as ensuring that foods are cooked properly and free of pesticides or chemicals. Avoid sushi or any raw uncooked meats or seafood when pregnant. Seek a doctor’s advice for a balanced healthy diet and vitamin recommendations as well as make sure to drink plenty of water during the pregnancy.

Recreation

A mother’s lifestyle changes the minute she finds out she is pregnant. Smoking and drug use negatively impact the baby and must be avoided at all costs. While it is important to get exercise during pregnancy, robust exercise can negatively affect the fetus. Consult with your doctor when it comes to an exercise plan to ensure planned physical activities are safe for both mother and child. Hobbies to avoid during pregnancy involve those that require excessive exposure to chemicals, such as arts and crafts and more. Pregnant mothers also need to consult with their doctor about any vacation, travel or recreational plans or activities. Pregnant mothers must avoid hot saunas and Jacuzzis during pregnancy.

Personal Care

Mothers that feel good about themselves during pregnancy convey these feelings to their baby. When a mother takes the time to maintain her appearance during pregnancy, the baby also benefits. However, problems arise because of the many chemicals found in cosmetics or hair supplies that have a negative effect on the baby during a mother’s pregnancy. Massages can be beneficial to both mother and child, but avoid facials or skin treatments where the chemicals used in the solutions are unknown. Review any of the following links to find out more about some of the harmful chemicals found in many of the items mothers often use for personal care.

Prenatal Care

The importance of regularly scheduled doctor visits and prenatal care is critical when pregnant. Prenatal care consists of regular monthly visits during the pregnancy and weekly visits during the last few weeks before delivery. During these visits, the doctor checks fetus growth, the mother’s health and performs a series of tests that help determine the overall health of the mother and baby. These regularly scheduled prenatal visits give the mother peace of mind that all is well and the baby is developing properly. Prenatal care also provides parents with the needed information of what the mother must do during pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby and delivery. Her doctor will provide her with a list of over-the-counter medicines to avoid and other medical procedures to avoid, if possible while pregnant. A pregnant mother needs to avoid radiation doses, such as those experienced during X-Rays or when receiving dental care.

Illness

Getting sick during pregnancy can happen, regardless of how careful a mother is when it comes to avoiding sickness. When a pregnant mother gets sick, she must contact her doctor immediately so she knows what medicines to avoid and what precautions she must take. Some mothers may enter pregnancy with a known disease or develop a disease during pregnancy. All of these scenarios require the assistance and guidance of a doctor. Certain sicknesses can also affect the health of the baby, depending upon the stage of the pregnancy when the mother gets sick.

Home and Garden

Getting ready for the new baby often involves redecorating the home and setting up the baby’s room. New mothers often begin “nesting” toward the end of their pregnancy, which includes a burst of energy to tidy up the home to get ready for the new baby. While this is a natural part of the process, mothers must pay critical attention to the products they use to clean the home, paint or decorate a baby’s room. This is important for the health of both mother and child. When the baby becomes mobile, parents need to ensure the home is “baby safe” and that access to chemicals, electrical outlets and cupboards that pose health risks are eliminated.

Work

While many mothers choose to work during their pregnancy, they must receive the approval of her doctor to do so. Some workplace environments just aren’t healthy for the mother, especially when exposed to hazardous or toxic chemicals. While most work environments are safe for the working mother – she must consult with her doctor if she begins to experience any ill effects from working. Under governmental laws and regulations, employers must post information on any items, chemicals or toxins in the work environment that can affect the health of employees or pregnant women.

Community

Communities in which the parents live also play an important factor during pregnancy and while raising the new baby. When it comes to children’s safety in the community, it’s not just about hazardous waste sites, pesticides, air and water pollution, it’s also about keeping children safe from criminal elements as well. While it may seem like a daunting task to change a community’s environment for the better, new parents, family and community members can affect change when they join and express their concerns in the proper public forums or in the voter’s booth.