ABCs of a Healthy Pregnancy - Pregnancy & Baby Plus

H Hand washing helps prevent the spread of infections. Wash thoroughly and regularly throughout the day, especially after handling raw meat or using the bathroom.

I Iron out anemia in late pregnancy by taking a 30-milligram iron supplement, as prescribed by your doctor. Moms-to-be, and all women of childbearing age, should eat a diet rich in iron.

J Join an infant CPR class and learn what to do if your baby has trouble breathing. In the event of an emergency, you'll be glad you did.

K Know your limits. Tell your health care provider if you experience pain of any kind, strong cramps, uterine contractions at 20-minute intervals, vaginal bleeding, leaking of amniotic fluid, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, palpitations, rapid heartbeat, constant nausea and vomiting, trouble walking, edema (swelling of joints) or decreased activity from your baby.

L Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption during pregnancy. Alcohol '- the one and only cause of fetal alcohol syndrome '- is not considered safe in any amount during pregnancy. Your practitioner will likely tell you to limit your caffeine intake as well. And coffee and tea aren't the only caffeine culprits. A little label reading reveals that more than 200 foods, beverages and over-the-counter medications contain caffeine.

M Medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure should be treated and kept under control. Ask your doctor about any medications that may need to be changed or adjusted during pregnancy. If you are currently taking any medications '- either prescription or over-the counter '- ask your health care provider if it's safe to take them while you're pregnant. Also be sure to discuss any herbals, vitamins or supplements you're taking.

N Never be afraid to ask your practitioner questions about your health. It's better to take all precautions and clear the air on any questions or concerns about your pregnancy.

O Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold remedies may contain alcohol or other ingredients that aren't safe during pregnancy. Talk to your doc before taking any prescription or OTC medications during pregnancy.

P Physical activity during pregnancy can benefit both you and your baby. You'll decrease your discomfort and fatigue, boost your sense of well-being and increase your chances of an early recovery after delivery. Light to moderate exercise '- including yoga, walking, swimming and stationary biking '- is generally safe for pregnant women. Just check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise routine.

Q Queasiness, stomach upset, morning sickness... not the most exciting parts of pregnancy, are they? But they are common. Even foods that you normally love may make you feel sick to your stomach. Try eating five or six small meals a day instead of three large ones, and substitute stomach-turning foods with more appetizing and nutritious ones.

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