By Matt Brennan of The Beacon-News
While the lists of pregnancy do’s and don’ts can be extensive, there is one thing women should not lose track of as they go through the process, and that’s enjoying it.
That’s the advice of Dr. Susan Acuna, obstetrician/gynecologist on staff with Central DuPage and Delnor Community hospitals.
Women should remember to enjoy the experience of having a child moving around inside them, she said. While they experience that thrill, there are things they can be doing to keep themselves and the baby healthy.
There is a lot of information out there. It can be overwhelming. Some of the information and ideas have a stronger medical basis than others. It is best to follow the recommendations that have a stronger basis in medicine and science, she said.
“Many women come in and say, ‘I heard I should avoid lunch meat and peanut butter,’” Acuna said. “Those are not based on any factual information.”
The concern about peanuts or peanut butter is that eating them would increase the baby’s chance of picking up the allergies. It’s not based on enough science, she said. With lunch meat, she said to just make sure that it is reasonably fresh.
The most important thing for women to do during pregnancy is to take a prenatal vitamin, Acuna said.
“It’s shown to prevent birth defects,” she said. “That’s an important thing that women may or may not know.”
Provena Mercy Medical Center nutritionist Melissa Gash said that making sure calorie intake is correct for the patient’s height and weight is important.
“You really only need about 300 extra calories a day,” she said. “It’s really minimal what you have to increase.”
To put it in perspective, the extra calories can be achieved with a glass of milk and an apple, she said. The normal recommended weight gain during a pregnancy is about 25 to 30 pounds. Many women gain much more than that, she said.
“They wonder why they can’t lose that weight after the baby’s out,” she said.
Yoga, Pilates and prenatal water aerobics have all increased in popularity recently, said Dr. Natalie Roche of Fox Valley Women and Children’s Health Partners. The exercises can help to alleviate some of the pain associated with pregnancy, she said.
There are some exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy, such as biking, roller skating and jumping on a trampoline, Acuna said.
“I recommend they avoid any activity that would put them at risk of falling,” she said.
Running, biking on a stationary bike and working out on an elliptical machine are all safer forms of exercise, she said.
Gash is on her third pregnancy, she said. She also runs a nutrition seminar for pregnancy at Provena Mercy called “From Pickles to Ice Cream.” Cravings are legitimate, she said. Many pregnant women have them. But, “a lot of women use them as an excuse,” she said.
Morning sickness and nausea are fairly common, especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, she said.
“Sometimes you’re just not going to feel that good those first couple weeks,” she said.