As a parent, dealing with pregnancy caregiving is a nerve-wracking and tumultuous experience like no other. On one hand, you are excited at the idea that you’ll be holding your bundle of joy in your arms a few months from now. However, on the other hand, you’re frightened that even a tiny mishap from your side during this sensitive period can spell fatal mistakes.
Parents have to bear the responsibility of bringing a healthy new life into this world and ensure that the period of pregnancy stumbles across no obstacles owing to negligence and ill-equipped preparations. If poorly planned out, it could lead to life-altering consequences, severely affecting the child and the family.
According to the CDC, about 7 in 1000 babies in the U.S are born with birth injuries, but the good news is that with apt planning, awareness, and implementation, many of these are preventable. So to ensure your baby is born healthy and safe, let’s educate ourselves with the top 4 tips to prevent birth injuries as expecting parents.
- Strictly avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
We are well aware of the detrimental effects of smoking and alcoholism on our health. Cardiovascular diseases, liver cirrhosis, sleep apnea, brain damage, and cancer are some of the most common consequences of these two malignant habits, but even being aware of these dangers isn’t enough to persuade most people to quit.
It’s a different story; however, during pregnancy, your habits are tightly interlinked to the growth and development of the fetus. Your habits may be your choice to own, but they aren’t your child’s. They didn’t ask to be born, and the responsibility lies on the parents to care for them in the best way possible. Childbirth injuries can be preventable, and you can learn more at childbirthinjuries.com.
Smoking destroys the brain and lung tissue of the developing baby, and many hazardous components of smoking, such as tobacco and Carbon Monoxide, can enter the baby’s blood supply. This causes problems like Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and elevated blood pressure that drastically increase the chances of childbirth injuries and, in many cases, miscarriages.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, which slows down our cognitive thinking and reasoning. The thrill from being high is only temporary, while the harm it poses to the mother’s health and baby is permanent and irrevocable. Your baby becomes prone to Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), including stunted brain and body growth, learning disabilities, facial defects, and Cerebral Palsy that causes poor posture control. These conditions require huge amounts of money and resources to support and treat, not to mention the emotional toll it takes on the child and the parents dealing with them.
Negligence now means depriving your child of sound health and leaving them mentally or physically disabled for a lifetime. Don’t be selfish with your decisions, and leave the worst of your habits behind for your baby,
- Prevent folic acid deficiency
A pregnant mother’s diet must be carefully monitored and altered to meet the growing baby’s nutritional demands. Folic acid is one such diet component essential to the baby’s brain and spinal cord development.
The National Health Service (NHS) recommends that pregnant women take around 400 to 100 micrograms of folic acid daily when planning for a pregnancy and increase the dosage after consulting their doctor when expecting.
A deficiency of folic acid spells disastrous results for the baby’s neurodevelopment and keeps them at harm’s risk of neural tube defects such as Spinal Bifida. Such defects hamper the cognitive and intellectual abilities of the child and even lead to early death. While modern medical practices are working their way around to increase a short life span, the child will still lack the necessary social and emotional skills to integrate properly into society.
Some great folic acid sources include dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and fresh fruit juices, which supplementary tablets can complement.
- Exercise the right way
Contrary to what most people think, exercise is excellent for pregnant mothers. A mild to moderate-intensity exercise routine should be maintained while expecting. A healthy dose of exercise alleviates the notorious back pain that most pregnant women complain of, increases blood flow to the mother and baby, and strengthens the pelvic muscles.
The pelvic floor muscles play a central role in pushing the baby out during birth. They comprise the uterus, urinary bladder, and large intestine under constant and great strain during and after pregnancy. Strong and healthy pelvic muscles can be achieved through short and easily doable exercises such as:
- A 15-20 minute daily stroll outside
- Brisk walking to get the adrenaline pumping
- Kegel exercise, which includes contracting and relaxing your urinary bladder muscles, will help to prevent urinary tract infections and complications.
- Stationary cycling and yoga get you in good physical and mental shape.
A good exercise routine soothes painful labor contractions, and a fit mother experiences faster postpartum recovery. On the other hand, weak pelvic muscles put the baby at risk for damage or death while pushing them out, as they can put a detrimental amount of pressure on the baby’s vital organs.
- Be wary of pets and animals you come into contact with
Pets don’t harm you or your baby as long as some safety precautions are adhered to. This means that you don’t have to part with your beloved fur babies and can keep them in the house by following proper guidelines when caring for them.
Toxoplasmosis is a common infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and leads to severe growth complications for the baby if contracted by the mother during pregnancy. This parasite is usually rampant in litter boxes, so pregnant women should hand over litter box duties to other family members to prevent close contact with them. If that isn’t possible, they should wear proper gloves when discarding feces and wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
Activities like gardening where animal feces continuing toxoplasma can be present should also be carefully monitored. Rodents like rats, chipmunks, and mice are vectors of many diseases, so your home should be kept clean and hygienic to prevent infestations.
Pregnancy is a beautiful stage of a parent’s life that childbirth injuries should not dampen. So, follow these four tips to make the most of your time and ensure your baby is brought healthy and beaming into the world.