Caring for yourself

during pregnancy

By Logan Nash

What will happen at a prenatal visit?

The doctor will ask you about your medical history and ask you about how you have been feeling. They will weigh you and take your blood pressure. This is what will happen at every visit. However on your first visit, they will do a pelvic exam to see the size of the womb (uterus) and a Pap smear to check for abnormalities. Blood and urine tests will be taken to check for any other problems.

How much weight should I gain and what should I eat?

Weight gain is different for everyone but most women gain 25 to 30 pounds. Keeping a healthy and well-balanced diet is key. Certain foods like meat and eggs can be harmful if not cooked properly. When you eat fruits and vegetables, wash them and keep all dishes and cutting utensils clean. If you drink coffee, do not have more than 1 or 2 cups a day.

Should I take vitamins or medicine?

It is recommended that you take 1 mg of folic acid every day while you're pregnant. This can help prevent complications with the baby's spinal cord and brain. If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is best you start taking it before you do. If you are currently taking prescribed or over-the-counter medicine, notify your doctor. Some medications can cause birth defects.

How long can I continue working and can I exercise?

If you are having problems with your pregnancy or have a job that will somehow harm your baby, it's recommended that you not continue it. Talk to your doctor about the work environment such as exposure to radiation or heavy lifting. Exercising while pregnant can be beneficial to you. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can, some women say, make labor and delivery easier. While exercising, make sure that you are staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water.