Pregnancy can seem overwhelming at times. On top of having endless pregnancy guides and parenting books to browse through, the long list of do’s and don’ts can leave you feeling lost. That’s why we’ve put together a basic five-step checklist to guide you through your pregnancy journey. Make your list, check it twice, and have a blissful pregnancy!
1. Find the right doctor and hospital for you
There are many ways to find the best obgyn or gynae for you. Do your research well. It is important that you trust and feel safe with your doctor. If you have a chronic illness, consider a maternal foetal medicine specialist who specialises in high risk pregnancies. Whatever the case, find a doctor who takes a keen interest in yours and Baby’s health, and who responds genuinely to your concerns. You can also check hospital maternity packages and go on hospital maternity tours to find the right one for that big day!
2. Eat well for two
Life is growing inside of you, so be mindful of what you consume. You are eating for two, but there’s no need to over-do it! Find out which foods to avoid when pregnant (like raw food) and always ensure that anything that passes your lips has been thoroughly cooked. Certain types of fish (like king mackerel and swordfish) have a high mercury content, so avoid these until after you have given birth. There’s no need to cut oily or spicy foods out of your diet completely. However, if you frequently experience nausea or indigestion, try to steer clear of them.
Cravings are normal. While the need to give in to them may feel overpowering at times, it is important to ensure that you maintain a well-balanced diet throughout pregnancy. Take small, frequent meals throughout the day. Include fresh, wholesome foods such as whole grains, vegetables, as well as protein-rich and dairy products. These will form essential components of your diet. There are pregnancy cookbooks that can guide you to create a healthy menu for yourself throughout the nine months. If you are a strict vegetarian, vegan, or have special dietary requirements, get a doctor’s advice on your pregnancy diet.
3. Take your vitamins
Complement your diet with prenatal vitamins. These ensure that you are adequately supporting your baby’s growth. Pregnancy will deplete your body’s nutrients – your food intake may not be able to supply the lost nutrients immediately. Hence, pregnant women are advised to take vitamins with higher levels of folic acid and iron. These nutrients help prevent certain birth defects associated with malnourishment, and promote Baby’s brain development. Do not self-medicate. See your doctor about any additional supplements and vitamins you will need during the course of your pregnancy.
4. Keep moving throughout pregnancy
Moving about gets increasingly difficult as Baby grows. Your swelling tummy causes your centre of gravity to shift constantly, making simple tasks like bending over challenging. The extra pregnancy weight on your joints can cause them to hurt. However, it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. In fact, working out been proven to ease labour and help with pregnancy aches and pains. It also boosts your mood and improves sleep. Yoga, walking, and pelvic strengthening exercises such as squats all go a long way in making your pregnancy more comfortable. Many mums-to-be also enjoy prenatal yoga classes.
Exercise can help ease labor and birthing for most mothers. However, be sure that you do not over-exert yourself. Listen to your body, and if you experience any pain or intense discomfort during your exercises, stop immediately and consult your doctor for advice.
There are prenatal classes that help prepare you for motherhood. Some of the classes include birthing options, relaxation techniques, what to expect before, during and after labour, and what changes to expect after Baby is born.
5. Choose the appropriate prenatal test
Prenatal tests keep you informed of Baby’s development, and highlight possible problems at an early stage of your pregnancy. These give you ample time to equip yourself with the necessary information to make the right choices during your pregnancy.
There are several types of prenatal tests that you can choose from, including screening and diagnostic tests. Non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) such as iGene® are safe, fast and accurate tests that help to identify potential genetic anomalies. These are completely safe for you and Baby since they only require a small blood sample taken from your arm. Diagnostic tests, on the other hand, pose a miscarriage risk since they involve the insertion of a needle into the womb.
Nine months is a long journey. You will experience developments and discomforts throughout your pregnancy but these can be overcome with help. These steps, while basic, form the foundation of a healthy and problem-free pregnancy. Ensuring both the health of you and your baby is the main priority, which is why it is important to be prepared. Keep an open mind, do not hesitate to ask questions and most of all, enjoy your pregnancy!
This article is contributed by iGene® Team. iGene® is a safe, highly accurate and non-invasive prenatal test that analyses cell-free DNA present in the maternal bloodstream. Using cutting-edge Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, it detects chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome, as well as sex chromosome abnormalities such as Klinefelter and Turner Syndrome. It delivers definitive results with more than 99% accuracy rate. iGene® is currently available in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.