1. Seek care from your GP, obstetrician and/or midwife from pre-pregnancy through to the post-natal period.
2. Nutrition is all-important in pregnancy and lactation. Ensure you have a balanced diet. Meals may need to be smaller but more frequent (5 – 6 times a day) as the pregnancy progresses. Use a folic acid supplement or a good pregnancy and lactation multivitamin. If you are not sure about your nutrition ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist/dietician.
3. Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres (10 x 200mls glasses) of water per day in addition to your food intake, may include no more than 2 cups of coffee or tea.
4. Avoid alcohol and smoking (including second hand smoke).
5. Exercise – Walk at least 20 minutes per day.
Pregnancy exercise classes that are appropriate to your level of fitness.
6. Rest -Tiredness at any stage in the pregnancy is common. Take time to rest during the day and get plenty of sleep at night. Elevate your feet at every opportunity in the third trimester to minimize swelling.
7. Maintain good pelvic floor health
Pelvic floor exercises appropriate for pregnancy can facilitate normal vaginal delivery. This will minimise the risk of injury to the pelvic floor and also decrease the risk of incontinence and prolapse. Perineal massage may also reduce the risk of pelvic floor injury.
8. Avoid tight clothing and high heeled shoes. Tight clothes may constrict the abdomen and place unnecessary pressure on your baby. Tight clothes may also cause compression of nerves and numbness and can worsen swelling and discomfort. High heeled shoes increase the risk of falls which may impact on the safety of your baby.
9. Take care with over the counter medications and herbal remedies. If you are unsure about their safety, ask your pharmacist or obstetrician.
10. Emotional care – Pregnancy hormones can make you more sensitive and emotional. Remember that your partner is not only experiencing your emotions but also their own. Be mindful of each other’s needs through good communication and be supportive. Some issues are not so easily resolved and may need to be brought to the attention of your obstetrician or a psychologist.