Pregnant women should eat well, drink little and quit smoking to give their babies the best start in life. Tommy’s Campaign, the charity that funds research into miscarriage, premature births and stillbirth, has compiled this ten- point plan:
1. Eat a balanced diet of bread, cereals, fruit and vegetables, milk, dairy foods, meat, oily fish, eggs and pulses (peas, beans and lentils).
2. Stop smoking from the moment you start planning your pregnancy, and straight away if you discover you are pregnant unexpectedly. Smoking can harm your unborn baby and trigger premature birth.
3. Up to the 12th week of pregnancy take plenty of folic acid to reduce the risk of spina bifida, either through a daily 400mg supplement, foods with added folic acid such as certain breads and breakfast cereals, and foods naturally rich in folic acid such as leafy vegetables.
4. Avoid soft, unpasteurised cheese, undercooked meat, pate and raw eggs because they may contain listeria and salmonella.
5. Don’t drink more than two units of alcohol a week (two glasses of wine or a pint of beer). Too much alcohol can cause brain damage to your baby.
6. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these: vaginal bleeding, swollen limbs, disturbed vision, abdominal pain or headaches and waters breaking.
7. Avoid drugs of all kinds. Never take medication without your GP’s permission.
8. Relax. Long periods of exhausting work can trigger premature labour, so rest during the day. Meditation, yoga and massage are also good for you and your baby.
9. Wear gloves for gardening or handling cat litter to avoid toxoplasmosis, an infection found in cat’s mess.
10. Go to all your antenatal appointments to detect problems as early as possible.
Source: Dr Sona, Gynae