As a mom-to-be, looking out for your health and nutrition is so much more critical because you’re not only caring for yourself but nurturing a life growing inside you. Leading hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center teaches moms-to-be on how to take better care of their overall health during pregnancy, from making sure you get the right vitamins to changing the eating habits you’re used to, and of course, getting checked regularly by a doctor.

A guide to a healthy pregnancy
A guide to a healthy pregnancy

Be aware of red flags

Don’t ignore seemingly mild symptoms including dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, backache, pronounced swelling on any body part, uterine cramping, and the like. “These are symptoms that have been linked to premature birth, increase in blood pressure or high blood sugar, which is why you must immediately consult with your doctor when you’re experiencing any of these signs,” says Carla Victoria Castro, M.D., of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Eat right for two

Dr. Castro reminds moms-to-be that eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much as you usually would. “Pregnant women should eat food which can be sources of essential nutrients for the baby. Typically, pregnant women would need to consume an extra 300 calories a day, and this should be a balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and good carbohydrates,” says Dr. Castro.

To protect your baby’s growth and development, eating food rich in nutrients like folic acid is vital so you can prevent defects in the brain and spinal cord of your baby. A good dose of folic acid can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, peas, fortified cereals, and beans.

Complement eating with suitable vitamin supplements. Vitamins can supplement your diet and help fill-in small gaps if you’re not getting enough of the critical nutrients you need. “Prenatal vitamin combinations vary depending on nutritional needs. Women who are anemic, for example, would require vitamins higher in iron,” says Dr. Castro. You might also need Vitamin D to strengthen your bones or Vitamin C for healthier blood vessels.

“Always ask your doctor about which supplements are necessary for you and be transparent about which ones you’ve already been taking always to ensure your health and your baby’s,” Dr. Castro adds.

Monitor your weight gain

Be sure to check with your doctor about how much weight gain is healthy for you. But this usually depends on your body mass index. Women who are at a healthy weight should gain 25 to 30 pounds. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds, while overweight women should only gain 15 to 25 pounds.

“This added weight is divided among the baby, the placenta, the growing uterus, blood and body fluids,” says Dr. Castro. “Weight gain must be gradual with most of it being gained in the last trimester. If you’re gaining weight too quickly, cut back on added sugar and fats. But if you’re not gaining enough, then consume a little more from each food group.”

Have a support system

It’s best to have good emotional support so you can avoid having pre and postnatal anxiety and depression. “Your family and friends play a crucial role during this time. It’s also great for you to choose a doctor who will respect your opinions and choices as a mother and will guide you through a healthy process from pregnancy to delivery and even after your baby is born,” says Dr. Castro.

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.8888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph.

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