It is not an accident that a healthy baby will be born. A healthy pregnancy is possible by practicing good health habits, quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet rich in folic acid.
Unplanned pregnancies account for half of all pregnancies. To ensure your child’s health, you should adopt these healthy habits if you are pregnant.
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Improve Your Chances of a Healthy Baby
Get Free Text message tips for a healthy pregnancy.
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- Talk to your doctor about your pregnancy.
- Manage medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure throughout pregnancy.
- Pay attention to your diet and weight. Before becoming pregnant, women should maintain a weight of at least 15 pounds below their ideal weight. Problems can arise if you are overweight or too thin during pregnancy.
- Use a multivitamin with folic acid every day.
- All necessary vaccinations should be given to pregnant women, including chickenpox and rubella. Your medical provider should discuss the spacing of all vaccines, including COVID 19, with you.
- Get regular, moderate exercise. Regular exercise is good for both you and your baby. It can reduce fatigue and speed up recovery after giving birth. Exercise promotes well-being, and reduces stress during pregnancy.
- Regular medical checks are important. Discuss any medical issues with your doctor.
- Before you take any medication, consult your doctor. Prescription and over-the counter drugs can be dangerous for a baby’s development.
- Wash fresh fruits and veggies to get rid of any insecticide residue.
- Use a multivitamin with folic acid every day.
- Use iron supplements to prevent anemia.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- It is strongly recommended that you get a Tdap and seasonal flu shot while pregnant. These should be discussed with your doctor and OB provider.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat.
- Avoid all alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs.
- Avoid contact of raw meat or cat feces as they can cause toxoplasmosis.
- Do not use cleaning products, paints, or insecticides with toxic ingredients.
- Avoid X-rays during pregnancy.
- You should avoid substances at work and at home that your doctor has recommended as they could be dangerous for a baby’s health. A developing baby can be seriously affected by alcohol or illicit drugs while pregnant. Even small amounts can cause learning difficulties and behavioral disorders in the baby.
- Avoid dangerous sexual practices. Your baby can be affected by sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.
Folic acid: A Essential Nutrient for Proper Growth
Folic acid, a B-vitamin, can help reduce the risk of developing birth defects in the spine and brain. Every day, women who are pregnant or could become pregnant need to consume 400 micrograms (400 mg or 0.4m) of Folic acid.
Ask your doctor about
- Pregnancy and post-partum
- Changes in diet
- When and which vaccinations should you get
- What types of exercise are allowed during pregnancy
- All medications that you take for any medical condition or sickness
- Any concern or unclear regarding the pregnancy
Pregnancy and Smoking
Second-hand smoking and smoking cigarettes can cause many health problems such as low birth weight, miscarriage and infant mortality.
If you are a non-smoker
You should avoid smoking while pregnant or after your baby is born. Smoking should be stopped by anyone in the home. Research shows that children who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke can be more susceptible to developing lung diseases.
If You Smoke
It is important to stop or reduce your work hours as much as possible. These are some resources to help you:
- Quit Smoking Today
- Get help quitting smoking with the Tobacco Quitline or other resources
Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
A pregnant woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy can have an unborn child. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be caused by alcohol, even early in pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can cause abnormalities, growth retardation, lifelong learning problems, and behavioral problems in children.
Alcohol can cause harm to a foetus at any stage in pregnancy, even before a woman realizes she is pregnant.
Unborn babies can be hurt by alcohol. A 12-ounce standard beer can has the same alcohol content as a four-ounce glass wine or one-ounce of straight liquor. A pregnant woman cannot consume any safe type of alcohol.
Unplanned births account for nearly half of all American births. Drinking is not a good idea for women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. Stop drinking if you’re pregnant.
- Additional information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at the CDC
- National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Healthy Baby – Right on Time
During the last weeks, babies go through crucial developmental steps. Your newborn will have the best chance of a healthy start to life by waiting until full term (at least 39 weeks). If you are unable to wait until full term, let your doctor know.
MSDH Programs for Prenatal Care
If your income is eligible, pregnant women or children under five years of age can receive free, nutritious foods from the Women, Infants and Children’s Nutrition Program. You automatically qualify for WIC span if you are eligible for TANF, Food Stamps, or Medicaid.
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in Mississippi
MSDH, a Medicaid provider provides a perinatal high-risk case management program for mothers and their infants. This program offers a wide range of preventive services to pregnant women, including nutrition, physical exams, education, counseling and referrals. The main objective of the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program, is to provide health care for pregnant women in order to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight infants. It is designed to reduce infant mortality by increasing access to prenatal care for women.
Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey (PRAMS)
The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey (CDC) is a joint effort between the Mississippi State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This survey is designed to determine why certain babies are healthy and which are not. The survey asks mothers about their pregnancies to find out. These confidential answers will help us learn more about Mississippi’s chances for mothers and infants. Future planning will also benefit from the data.
MSDH Pregnancy Resources
- Preventing Birth Defects
- 39 Weeks to a Healthy Baby
- It is important to wait until the full term before can be delivered.
- 17P, Preterm Births
- WIC Nutritional Program
- Healthy, free food for mothers and their children
- Child Care
- Safe sleeping and SIDS
- Children’s Health Programs
- Perinatal Health
- Improving birth outcomes in Mississippi
- MSDH Family Planning Program
Other Pregnancy Resources
- Pregnancy Information
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- March of Dimes’ Pregnancy and Newborn Education Center
- Birth Defects Information
- from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Folic Acid Topics (CDC)
- National Birth Defects Prevention Network
- A community for moms by moms supporting each other through the trials of motherhood