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How to Increase Your Chances of a Normal Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you want the best for your baby. You can start by following the medical recommendations and lifestyle changes necessary to have a normal pregnancy in which you stay healthy and reduce your risk of complications. 

The good news is that odds are in your favor for having a normal pregnancy. Only 8% of pregnancies develop complications that involve the mother, baby, or both. You can further increase your odds of good health during pregnancy with appropriate prenatal care.

Shaurin Patel, MD, here at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, specializes in all phases of pregnancy, including preconception planning, prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postnatal recuperation. With Dr. Patel’s expertise, women receive the care necessary to have a healthy pregnancy, and if complications arise, he provides excellent management to minimize health risks.

Here’s what Dr. Patel advises to increase your chances of a normal pregnancy.

Start with a healthy body

Following a schedule of annual well-woman exams helps establish and maintain a healthy body that can support you and your unborn child through pregnancy and birth. During an annual well-woman exam, Dr. Patel checks your general and reproductive health.

If you have chronic medical conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, annual exams help ensure you keep these issues well-controlled so they’re less likely to cause problems during your pregnancy.

Attend recommended prenatal visits

The most important thing you can do to increase your chances of a normal pregnancy is to come in for all recommended prenatal visits -- even if you’re feeling fine. 

If you’re healthy and have a pregnancy without complications, you can expect to make about 15 prenatal visits before your baby is born. You may require more visits if you have risk factors, such as asthma or diabetes, that could cause problems. 

If you develop a cause for concern, regular prenatal visits allow Dr. Patel to diagnose the issue, order appropriate tests, and intervene as early as possible. This can help reduce the effect on you and your unborn baby. 

Take your vitamins

The vitamins Dr. Patel recommends before and during your pregnancy depend on your condition. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement that contains adequate iron (27 mg) and folic acid (400 mcg) for women who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant. Start taking them at least a month before you start trying to conceive.

Avoid harmful substances

You can be exposed to harmful substances at home or work. Substances that contain lead, mercury, pesticides, solvents, or radiation can potentially harm you or your growing baby. Carefully read labels of products you use yourself or substances that are used near you. 

If your employer uses hazardous chemicals in your workplace, they must provide labels and safety data sheets that include hazard information.

Maintain a healthy diet

While you may experience cravings for new and unusual foods during pregnancy, it’s important to reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and fat you consume. Focus on eating plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, calcium-rich foods, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Getting enough fiber and fluids can help prevent constipation. 

Avoid raw or rare meats, liver, sushi, raw eggs, soft cheeses, and unpasteurized milk. Don’t drink alcohol at any stage of pregnancy.

Stay hydrated

During pregnancy, you need at least 8-12 glasses daily to avoid dehydration. You need adequate water because of the extra blood volume and amniotic fluid your body creates. Having adequate water in your system can also help regulate your body temperature.

Exercise

With Dr. Patel’s approval, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, for a total of 150 minutes of exercise every week. Exercise during pregnancy can keep your heart, body, and muscles strong in preparation for labor and delivery. Exercise may also help decrease your risk of complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean delivery.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, is usually the safest way to get the most benefits. 

Reduce stress

It’s common to feel stress during pregnancy as your body changes, you feel uncomfortable, and you think about labor and delivery. However, being really stressed during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth. 

Eating healthy and getting enough sleep and exercise can help reduce your stress. Educate yourself about pregnancy and childbirth so you’ll worry less about the unknown. Relaxation activities like yoga and meditation can help lessen stress and prepare you for labor and delivery.

Talk to Dr. Patel about the lifestyle changes you can make to increase your chances of a normal pregnancy. Schedule an appointment online or call one of our Oklahoma City offices today.

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