7 common health mistakes all pregnant women make

lead image

Can you say you're avoiding all of these common pregnancy health mistakes? You owe it to yourself to find out!

Typically, expecting mothers are incredibly cautious and conscientious about their health and wellbeing while pregnant. Eating right, a healthy dose of exercise, and regularly scheduled appointments are just a few of the ways mommies-to-be can stay on track. However, for each and every good decision expecting moms make, there may be an equal amount of mistakes and misconceptions!

According to Julie Revelant--health journalist, consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry, and proud mother of two--there are quite a few common mistakes that pregnant women everywhere make. Luckily, she's taken the time to discuss them, and how moms can avoid/fix these problems.

Health mistakes all pregnant women make

1. Overlooking the Zika virus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of late August, there have been 624 reported cases of pregnant women with symptoms pointing to the Zika virus in the U.S. alone.

Women have been advised to hold off on international travel if there has been any speculation regarding the virus in their country of destination.

"Although women have been advised to avoid travel where Zika has been circulating, women who live in those areas or decide to travel anyway might not use insect repellant or use the wrong type of insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites," said Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified OB/GYN in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. and an assistant clinical professor at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Dr. Dweck recommends that pregnant women use insect repellant with DEET sprayed on their clothing, not directly on their skin. If your sexual partner has traveled to an area with Zika, you should also use condoms to prevent the spread of the virus.

 health mistakes all pregnant women make

2. Treating pregnancy like a condition

said Dr. Jennifer Lang, a board-certified OB/GYN in Los Angeles and author of The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start, claims, “The greatest mistake I’ve seen women in pregnancy make is this idea that somehow it’s a much different state than the rest of their lives and that they have to change everything that they do."

Pregnancy is as natural an occurrence as anything. Sure, you'll be subject to a sporadic and unforeseen change in your diet, but that's not necessarily an excuse to overindulge in any foods that you're craving.

“If it’s not a great idea to do when you’re not pregnant, it’s not a great idea to do in pregnancy,” Lang says.

3. "Eating for two"

A study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that nearly 50 percent of women gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy!

“Women think that because they’re pregnant they have to double their calories and it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Dr. Lang claims.

This is particularly alarming if you consider the number of health problems associated with obese women who are pregnant. This is true not only for them, but also for their babies! In fact, women who are obese are more susceptible to a myriad of health problems while pregnant. There is miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth and difficult deliveries, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, sleep apnea and blood clots, for example. Infants born to obese mothers are also more likely to have birth defects and be obese themselves later on in life.

Women with a normal body mass index (BMI) get an extra 340 calories a day in the second trimester and an extra 450 calories a day in the third trimester, claims The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Of course, you need to take an approach that works for you and your specific body type. Take the time to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist about a plan that’s right for you.

4. Avoiding sex

Women sometimes stray away from sex while pregnant for a number of reasons; others are the complete and total opposite.

“Some women feel incredibly sexual during pregnancy and others feel like, ‘No way, no how,’” Dweck claims.

If you're somewhere in between, or just overly cautious. you should know there's no reason to avoid sex when expecting. That is, unless your doctor has advised you avoid it. As a matter of fact, if your pregnancy is full-term, sex may actually expedite labor because the prostaglandins from semen may soften the cervix and cause uterine contractions.

5. Staying away from vaccines

You've probably heard all the hoopla and controversy surrounding  vaccines by now. As a result, many pregnant avoid vaccines over concerns about its effectiveness or safety. "Yet," as Dr. Dweck claims, "it’s the best way to avoid serious complications from the flu, which pregnant women are at risk for because of the changes to the immune system that happen during pregnancy."

A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 90% of women didn’t get the flu vaccine. Yet the infants of mothers who did had a 70% reduced risk of the flu.

Moreover, infants of mothers who receive the flu vaccine in the third trimester are 33 percent less likely to be hospitalised for respiratory illness in the first six months after they’re born, found a study presented at the Options for the Control of Influenza 2016 Conference in Chicago.

 health mistakes all pregnant women make

6. Neglecting your core

Many women know the benefits of exercise while pregnant. However, many pregnant women avoid engaging their core (abdominals) out of fear of hurting themselves or their baby.

Leah Keller, a pre- and post-natal fitness expert in San Francisco, California and creator of The Dia Method, says that women need to be engaging their core despite the common misconception.

"The core muscles can help to prevent falls and injuries that are more common during pregnancy and make delivery shorter and easier. Training the core during pregnancy can also help prevent damage from diastasis recti — the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles that affect approximately 60% of first-time," claims Keller.

To be safe, you should ask your physician about appropriate workout routines that can help engage your core.

7. Too many vitamins and minerals

Women can greatly benefit from taking their prenatal vitamins and minerals. However, as Dr. Lang claims, "If you’re loading up on extra vitamins and over-the-counter herbal supplements, there’s no evidence it can help and it could actually be harmful to your baby."

Your primary source of nourishment should come from food. Whole-foods and a plant based diet will more than likely supply your body with all the nutrients required.

"It's the way our body was meant to assimilate vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in combination with this very complex blend that tends to be absorbed more optimally by the body,” Lang said.

In short, don't avoid vitamins, but don't overdo it, and don't rely solely on vitamins and minerals for proper nourishment.

 

This was originally published by Fox News.

 

Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.