It is important to discover about the pregnancy as early as possible, so that proper precautions can be taken to avoid any likely harm to the baby. A woman can use a variety of home pregnancy tests available to know about the pregnancy in just 2 weeks after conception, so that in case she has conceived then she can immediately start off with the necessary steps to avoid any complications as the pregnancy progresses.
Suitable care of mom and child is required for the first few weeks of pregnancy since it is the most critical stage of development for the baby. The brain, arms, legs and internal organs, in addition to most of the characteristics of the baby are finalized during this initial period. Here are some important precautions to be taken for the wellbeing of both the baby and the mom to be:
1. Over the Counter Medication
Avoid over the counter medicines without consulting the doctor, including Aspirin, Motrin, and Antibiotics. Doctors calculate if the risk/benefit ratio makes it worth taking the medicine for the pregnant woman by referring to the drug category of A, B, C, D, and X.
- A – totally safe medicines like Vitamin during prenatal period.
- B – Had no adverse effect when tested on animals. For e.g. Penicillin.
- C – Potential risk to human fetus cannot be ruled out but there are not enough studies to prove it. Medicines for cold are a good example of C.
- D – The risk has been proven, but the benefits outweigh the risk, as seen in case of anti seizure medicine.
- X – Medicine like Retin A fall under this category which is to be avoided at any cost.
2. Herbal Medicines
Herbal medicines should be taken with care as they can cause uterine contractions or even miscarriage in some cases. It is better to avoid herbs like Ephedra, Cohosh, Pennyroyal and others that are known to be unsafe during pregnancy.
3. Proper Diet
Healthy diet is necessary to steer clear of various complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Excessive consumption of coffee and tea should be avoided, as the addiction to it through the mother’s blood stream may irritate the baby after birth. Partially cooked meat or eggs may contain dangerous bacteria like listeria and parasite toxoplasma, which can harm the fetus.
4. Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid supplements are highly recommended for pregnant woman as they help in prevention of specific birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, spina bifida, and anencephaly. The occurrence of these abnormalities is quite less among the babies whose mothers have taken sufficient amount of folic acid supplements during pregnancy.
5. Stress and Anxiety
Proper care should be taken to avoid stress, worry, anxiety and depression as the babies born to mothers with these conditions are also known to suffer from sleeping disorders and emotional disturbances.
6. Alcohol Consumption
Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy does not allow the body to absorb enough amounts of folic acid and thiamine, leading to undernourishment in both, the mom-to-be and the baby. In addition, it increases the mother’s chances for pneumonia, miscarriages, liver disease and bone marrow suppression.
Avoid smoking, as smoking tobacco even moderately or passively is known to have adverse effect on the fetus like low birth weight, fetal anomalies and increased risk of mother giving birth to still born baby.
X-rays should be done only when absolutely necessary.
9. Cat Litter
Cleaning cat litter can lead to toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection which can be passed from mother to the unborn baby.
10. Physical Activities
Strenuous physical activities could precipitate labor or endanger pregnancy, and hence should be avoided.