How to Take Care of You & the Baby While Pregnant

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 09/28/2015

While pregnant, it is advisable that the woman follows a series of guidelines which will help her to have an ideal state of health.

Expecting a baby does not mean you are ill, which means that many activities can be done. However, it must be taken into account that pregnancy may mean some limitations for the mother-to-be.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Personal hygiene

Pregnant women should pay special attention to their mouth, since teeth become much more sensitive during pregnancy and the gums are more likely to bleed or become inflamed.

In addition to eating greater amounts of meat, dietary supplements may prevent the constant bleeding of the gums while pregnant. During early pregnancy, the gums should be carefully brushed. However, if they keep on weakening (gingivitis) throughout the gestation period, visiting your dentist is advisable. Using mouthwash may improve your oral health and avoid gingivitis to develop into periodontitis (a.k.a. pyorrhea), a severe disease affecting the gums that may even lead to preterm birth.

The private areas of the body also demand special care during pregnancy. For instance, urinary tract infections (UTI) or bladder infections are the second most frequent problem among pregnancy women behind anemia. Washing your private area with special shower gels is highly recommended in order to reduce risk.

Breaking bad habits

When a woman is aware that she is expecting a child, she must put aside habits which may cause damage in the baby-to-be such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs or medicines: although medicines are used for relieving pain, it is necessary to ask the doctor if they can be used even while pregnant, since for example analgesics are able to go through the placenta and damage the fetus.

Especially during pregnancy, a balanced diet should be followed. However, it should be taken into account that, contrary to what was formerly thought, eating for two is not recommended, although pregnant women should include all kinds of foods and essential nutrients on their daily food. Iron-rich dishes such as legumes and red meat are recommended as a preventive measure against anemia; besides, they will provide the pregnant woman with the necessary strength to stand daily physical activity.

Physical activity is another aspect that should be included in every pregnant woman’s routine, although it should be mild to moderate, always under the supervision of your obstetrician. Taking sports up during pregnancy is not recommended though. Conversely, if the woman was used to practice sports before being pregnant, it should be adapted to her new condition. If she leaded a sedentary lifestyle before pregnancy, just walking is recommended, since it promotes blood circulation while you do some exercise.

During the final sprint of pregnancy, especially when the woman is about to be 40 weeks pregnant, she is recommended to walk daily to promote childbirth.

Emotional support

It is very important to look after the pregnant woman. Family support, especially the one of the partner, is essential for the woman to live this wonderful process appropriately. During gestation, mood swings are usual because of hormone imbalance; therefore, feeling nurtured, listened and well pampered is highly important.

It is not unusual for pregnant women to experience mood swings. Usually, having sad or even depressive feelings is common after the initial joy felt after finding out that pregnancy has been achieved.

During the second trimester, women usually tend to feel more energized and comfortable with her own body. Early nausea has vanished and now she is starting to notice her belly growing, but she can still move her body easily.

In the final stages of pregnancy, it is not uncommon to experience a sudden change of mood due to the lack of comfort caused by excess weight, back pain, and limited mobility. That adds up to the fear of childbirth and the anxiety to see the baby’s face and to check that he or she is healthy and everything went as expected.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
BA, MA
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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