Miscarriages refer to the termination of pregnancy before the fetus becomes viable (meaning that the child cannot sustain life independently.) It is also called a spontaneous abortion. It is always a rather disheartening event, but there are several factors that contribute to it. So although it is not preventable in most cases, it definitely helps to know all the factors that will affect your pregnancy. So here are some precautions that you can take in order to avoid a miscarriage and deliver a beautiful, healthy baby.
Is Folic Acid Supplementation A Good Measure To Take?
Folic acid is a water-soluble form of vitamin B9. It is a vitamin that plays a vital role in formation of your baby’s neural tube. The neural tube is the structure which ultimately goes on to form your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Many researches have shown that birth defects are one of the main causes of miscarriages. Thus, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid each day can be a good way to prevent deformities and risk of miscarriage. It is recommended that you begin taking folic acid supplements when you begin planning your pregnancy (yes, even before getting pregnant.) Then continue on all throughout your pregnancy.
What Habits Should You Be Avoiding?
You must already be aware of certain habits which are harmful to your baby. These same habits in many cases are the causes of miscarriage. Yes, I am talking about habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Smoking during pregnancy can not only increase the risk of miscarriage, but it also causes unwanted effects in the fetus such as low birth weight, deformed mouth and lips and risk of still birth. It also increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – a condition in which a seemingly healthy baby dies an unexplained death, usually during sleep. And yes, passive smoking is extremely dangerous too.
Drinking alcohol is another habit to completely cut off during pregnancy. This is because alcohol can pass directly from the mother’s blood into the blood of the fetus. Alcohol can drastically harm the baby’s cells, especially the brain and spinal cord cells. This leads to deformities which again increase the chances of miscarriage.
Do Other Health Conditions Pose A Threat?
Personal long-term health issues like hypertension, diabetes or other systemic conditions can sometimes lead to complications. So, it is a good idea to consult your doctor and keep all these issues in check in order to prevent a possible miscarriage. Along with these, you must remember that infections with certain organisms can also be harmful. Some simple but effective precautions would be to wash your hands and to make sure that your immunizations are up to date(but please do it only under medical supervision and after proper consultation.) Sexually transmitted diseases are another big threat during pregnancy. Thus, get tested as soon as you can. Use barrier methods of protection such as condoms in order to reduce the risk of STIs.
Can Drugs Be Harmful?
Although you may normally just be taking a few over the counter drugs for some minor illness, the story is rather different during pregnancy. There are only a limited amount of drugs that are safe during pregnancy while the rest are known to cause inevitable side effects. Side effects may range from anything to deformities of the teeth to deformities of heart and limb development. This then again increases the risk of birth defects and miscarriages. Thus, it is mandatory to confirm with your doctor before taking any kind of drug during pregnancy. And as you may have guessed, drugs of abuse pose an even greater threat of miscarriages.
Does Food Play an Important Part?
Needless to say, you need to take extremely good care of yourself during pregnancy. Because in most cases, a healthy you amounts to a healthy little-you! The healthier you and your baby are, the lesser the chances of a miscarriage is.
Make sure that you take in enough nutritious food. Doctors recommend you to intake at least an extra 300-350 calories during your pregnancy. However, you must keep in mind that this is recommendation is for a woman with a normal body mass index. So if you are underweight, you may require some more extra calories and if you are slightly overweight you may require lesser amount of extra calorie intake. It is a great idea to consult with your doctor and nutritionist first so that you know your target. However, in the name of extra calories, do not intake junk food and sodas as these do more harm than good.
Being underweight, overweight or obese can also increase the risk of miscarriages and complications during pregnancy. Thus, if you are planning ahead for your pregnancy, it is a good idea to train to maintain a suitable weight for your body. Doing so will not only reduce the risks of miscarriage, but will also ensure that you deliver a healthy baby-and what is better than that? Come on now! I know you can do it!
Should You Exercise During Pregnancy?
Contrary to popular belief, if done in the right amounts, exercise is in fact beneficial during pregnancy. Although you should probably refrain from intense exercise and weight lifting, there are milder exercises that you definitely should do. These include swimming, yoga, brisk walking and low-impact aerobics. There are many yoga and aerobics instructors who can help you with all the right exercises. Not only will these exercises help prevent miscarriages, but they will also help to prepare you for labor. However, you must take adequate rest and sleep too. Never overexert yourself or stress yourself out.