A Healthy Lifestyle Is Essential For The Well-being Of Any Pregnancy
Prevention and Treatment Ensuring that aspiring parents are adhering to basic health guidelines is essential in achieving their family planning goals. Dr. Gideon Koren offers his recommendations for a healthy pregnancy.
Dr. Gideon Koren
Director, Motherisk, Hospital for Sick Children
Question: Why is folic acid important for a healthy pregnancy?
A: Folic acid prevents malformations in the baby, such as spina bifida and other conditions. Use of sufficient folic acid also appears in some studies to decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia and prematurity.
Question: What vitamins or nutrients are most important during this time?
A: Women need all essential vitamins as per Health Canada guidelines. Because Canada is a northern country many women do not produce sufficient vitamin D, as this requires sunlight. Vitamin D is critical for fetal growth.
Question: Discuss the role of sleep and stress management for maintaining health during pregnancy.
A: Sufficient sleep is critical, as most women feel tired and many suffer from morning sickness. Stress in pregnancy may adversely affect the unborn, so management of stress is key. Many women with depression and/or other mental conditions suffer from anxiety and stress. It is important for them to be seen by appropriate health professionals who will decide their need for medications.
Question: What types of exercise would you recommend for pregnant women?
A: Most women can continue their regular exercise routine unless they have medical problem, which should be discussed with their physicians. Moderation is the key word. Women who participate in extreme or professional sport should discuss their continuations with their physicians.
Question: What food or substances should be avoided during pregnancy?
A: There is no specific food contraindicated in pregnancy. However, many women tend to eat and gain weight more than the Health Canada’s guidelines. Food rich in protein and iron, vegetables rich in folic acid, milk products rich in calcium- are key. Women should avoid any alcohol and limit caffeinated beverages to 150 mg caffeine a day.
Most women can continue their regular exercise routine unless they have medical problem, which should be discussed with their physicians. Moderation is the key word.
Question: In your opinion, why are there misconceptions surrounding health and pregnancy?
A: Pregnancy is a typical time of increased anxiety. Many women are afraid of harming the baby, however, very often these perceptions are unwarranted, and could lead women, for example, to not take medications they must take.
Question: What resources are available for women looking to learn more about health and pregnancy?
A: Health Canada Guide for Healthy Eating; Motherisk line; Motherisk’s new book How to Survive Morning Sickness Successfully.
By: Eleanor Dalhousie