Monday, we kicked off a new health campaign called Baby Your Baby. November 19th through the 23rd, we'll focus on important issues facing expecting moms and their families. We start at the beginning, pregnancy. There are a lot of things pregnant women need to do, that most of us never think about.
Jo Pavone's no stranger to doctor's visits. She's already has two children, but even though it's her third pregnancy, she still has a hard time staying away from foods high in fat and salt. Pavone says, "I started eating three times a day like I was supposed to, as opposed to whenever I was hungry."
A healthy diet is just one thing a pregnant woman needs to think about. The most important is knowing when to go to the doctor. Dr. Michael Jessup says, "I think they're surprised or need to know they need to get in as early as possible to see their physicians. That gets a lot of questions out of the way early." So what else should expecting moms watch? Here are just a few of the obvious things. Keep a close eye on your diet, make sure it's balanced and high in nutrition. Be sure to get enough folic acid everyday, you can get it by taking vitamins. Obviously, you need to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoke, and nowadays, doctors encourage pregnant women to get plenty of exercise up to the delivery date.
Doctors encourage exercise as long as it's not too high-impact, or too stressful, and you're not having any complications. Believe it or not, don't eat undercooked meat and don't handle cat litter. Both can cause an infection called toxoplasmosis, that can harm a developing fetus. Following those guidelines and going to the doctor will put you on the right track to a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Jessup says, "It doesn't seem like they're doing a lot when they're there, but very small issues, like blood pressures, their growth. As long as those things are correct I'm sure everything's okay."
Obviously, there are a lot of questions pregnant women need to ask and have answered and there's help out there. As part of our Baby Your Baby campaign, we're working with health departments in Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Northwest Tennessee.