When you find out you're pregnant, living a healthy life becomes more important than ever before. What you put in or do to your body affects not just you, but your unborn child. Fortunately, there are some easy, free things you can to do to start having a healthier pregnancy today! Here are five of the easiest ones recommended by Drs. Flood and Harris:
- Stop smoking! According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, smoking can lead to premature birth, stillbirth, low birthweight and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Quitting smoking will improve your health, and can save the life of your unborn child. If you need help quitting, tell your doctor at your next appointment. Someone in our office will be able to direct you to resources to help you.
- Get tested for STDs! Some sexually transmitted diseases can be transferred to your baby before, during or after birth. This could cause early labor or could cause other complications for the baby in the uterus. By knowing what STDs you have, your doctor can figure out the best way to protect your baby. Sometimes medication or other special treatment can prevent an infection from being passed to your child.
- Stop drinking! When you drink, your baby drinks. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe during pregnancy, and there is no safe time to drink since your baby's brain is constantly developing. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in stillbirth or a range of lifelong disorders called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. According to the CDC, those could include abnormal facial features, shorter-than-average height, hyperactive behavior, vision or hearing problems, or even problems with the heart, kidney or bones.
- Be careful about what medicines or drugs you take. Illegal drugs including marijuana can affect your baby's development, or could even cause stillbirth. Some over-the-counter medications can also be harmful to unborn child. If you need help quitting an illegal drug, tell us during your appointment and we'll be happy to refer you to local resources that can help you.
- If you're in an abusive relationship or a violent environment, get out! You might think it's better for your child to have a mother and father in her life, but if that comes with violence or abuse, a one-parent household or even an emergency shelter might be a better environment for your child. At first, your baby needs food, health care, a safe environment and love. Providing those things is your biggest responsibility as a parent. That might mean getting away from abuse or violence before your child is born. The Mecklenburg County Women's Commission offers a variety of resources to help families affected by domestic violence.
Everyone at Flood and Harris OB/GYN is committed to helping you have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Please call us at 704-384-0560 if you have any questions or need help.