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Reducing the Risk of Complications

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 5 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Pregnant Pregnancy Complication

No-one wants to experience complications during their pregnancy and would prefer things to go smoothly without any hitches. Although some complications are due to a variety of factors that are beyond your control there are ways in which you can keep yourself and your baby safe and well and reduce the risk of problems.

One of the key ways that you can reduce the risk of developing complications during pregnancy is to ensure you take good care of yourself. Whilst it’s fine in many ways to continue with your usual habits, it’s helpful to take a careful look at your lifestyle and ensure that you eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol and get a good amount of exercise.

Nutrition is important as you’re not just eating for your health, but that of your baby too. Because of this, you should try and eat a healthy balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as protein, such as meat, fish, pulses and dairy products. Plus, there are some foods, such as unpasteurised cheese and egg whites, which you should avoid due to health risk concerns. Folic acid, which is found in fortified bread and cereals, is particularly important and you should take a daily dose of 400mcg of folic acid to help the health and development of your baby and reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

Both smoking and consuming alcohol are known to be linked to problems, so changing your habits inline with your pregnancy is advisable. It’s not just your own smoke that can cause effects though, as passive smoking can pose a risk too. So try and keep yourself away from areas where there’s a lot of smoking going on, or ask any smoking partners to smoke outside instead.

General Advice

As far as general advice goes, you can stay well and reduce the risk of suffering from any complications by:
  • Always attending all your antenatal appointments. Don’t be tempted to skip one if you feel fantastic or you know the process from having been pregnant before, as they’re a vital service to you. Major complications could be averted by results picked up at antenatal tests.

  • If you experience any sudden problems, such as bad swelling in your ankles, slight or heavy bleeding, severe headaches, pain in your abdomen or disturbed vision, then see a doctor immediately. It may be nothing, but it’s better to be checked out than leave it.

  • Not feeling guilty to be bothering your doctor or midwife with questions or queries. It’s understandable that you may be anxious about your pregnancy, especially if it’s your first time or you’ve previously had problems, and they don’t mind answering any queries you have. If it happens in between appointments, don’t wait until the next one to discuss the issues – your health is important and you’re not wasting their time!

  • Listening to any advice and guidance your doctor or midwife gives you. If they advise you to rest and take it easy for a bit, then heed their advice – even if you’d rather be up and about and on the move – as they’ve got your best interests at heart.
By paying attention to your lifestyle habits you can, to some degree, reduce the risk of some common pregnancy problems. If you are affected by a complication, don’t feel you’re to blame, as there will inevitably be some situations where complications are way beyond your control.

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