Tips to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery
The birth of your baby is one of life’s greatest moments. However, the nine-month journey that precedes the big event is often accompanied by some anxiety and uncertainty. “My first pregnancy was an unplanned c-section because my baby’s heart rate dropped,” said Lori Johnson, a patient in the OB department at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. “Although our baby girl was successfully delivered, when I was pregnant for a second time, my husband and I were worried about the health of our new baby and being the parents of two children.”
Good Prenatal Health.
Ideally, a healthy pregnancy begins before you even get pregnant. Prepare your body by taking a daily multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin with folic acid in addition to eating a well-balanced diet. Avoid smoking, recreational drug use and over-consumption of alcohol before getting pregnant. It is also important to have a thorough medical check-up to be sure your immunizations are up-to-date and that you don’t have pre-existing medical conditions that may affect your pregnancy.“Good prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy and baby,” says Ann Marie Rockamann, MD, OB/GYN at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. “We’re learning more all the time about the needs of the unborn baby. That’s why I urge women to:
- Take a daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid
- Abstain from alcohol and smoking.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, avoiding more than two servings of seafood per week (due to mercury levels in some fish).
- Drink plenty of water (8 – 8 oz. servings per day).
- Get adequate sleep (8 hours per night).
Exercise During Pregnancy ?
“I also encourage my patients to exercise throughout their pregnancies,” says Dr.Rockamann. “It’s a great way to help relieve stress and better cope with labor. However, patients should always consult with their doctors before engaging in any strenuous exercise program and avoid any physical activity that could cause injury, such as skiing or horseback riding.” “It is important also to participate in childbirth classes,” says Dr. Rockamann. “The classes make you more comfortable with the process of giving birth. It prepares you for how your body will react during labor and teaches you about your birth options like epidurals, natural childbirth and c-sections.”
Take a Tour.
Most OB-GYNs urge their patients to tour their hospitals’ maternity area and ASK questions. Is there an obstetrician and anesthesiologist on duty 24-7? Do babies and mothers room together? How experienced are the nurses? Do they have a special care nursery? How receptive are they to your birth plans? “At Missouri Baptist, we’ve designed our childbirth program to be responsive to the needs of our new mothers,” said Lisa Parker-Combs, RN, MBA, director, women’s, infants and emergency services.“For example, we now offer an Aqua Doula Tub – A portable labor tub that can be brought into the privacy of your room. Experience your labor in a warm water environment. This is a popular option and must be reserved prior to delivery. We also have ‘Dining on Call’ Room Service where made-to-order selections are delivered to your room within 45 minutes”
The following are safe exercise options for pregnant women:
- Low-impact aerobics
- Bicycling on a stationary bike
Be a Healthy Mom.
When mothers go home they may experience some physical and emotional changes. It’s important to follow up with your OB and keep your scheduled appointments. Taking care of yourself is the most precious gift you can give to yourself and your family.
For more information about Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s maternity services, please call (314) 996-LIFE (5433).
Dr. Ann Marie Rockamann is a board-certified OB/GYN on staff at Missouri Baptist. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency in OB/GYN at St. Louis University School of Medicine.