Mum & Baby
We know that for a woman, there are few things more exhilarating, more challenging and more worrying than becoming a mother. So, we’re here for you with help and practical advice.
Preparing for pregnancy
If you’re thinking of having a baby, it’s a good idea to find out as much as you can before trying to conceive. Your GP is a great source of advice about pregnancy planning, so make sure you speak with them. One thing they are certain to recommend is that you start taking folic acid at least 14 weeks before trying to conceive. Folic acid has been proven to help your baby develop well. Also, take your time. Don’t worry if it takes a while to conceive. That’s quite common, so don’t stress about it.
Both you and your baby will benefit if you eat well. You’ll no doubt have cravings. Cravings and pregnancy seem to go hand in hand. The important thing is that you eat a well-balanced diet throughout your term. You’ll be eating for two – both in terms of the quantity and quality of the food you eat. So eat healthily and eat regularly.
So what’s good for you?
Keeping your iron levels up is important, so eating iron-rich foods is advisable. Lean red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, whole-grain breads and iron-fortified cereals are good sources of iron. You’ll need calcium too, so make sure you eat plenty of dairy or calcium-fortified foods. Did you know that greens like kale and spinach are a source of calcium too?
What’s not such a good idea?
Not everything is good for you or your baby when you’re pregnant. You might find you’ll have to give up some of the things you really enjoy for a while. Raw meat, seafood, soft cheese and any unpasteurised products are all off the menu. So are raw eggs, although most people don’t need much encouragement to stay away from those. You should also steer clear of liver, which has a high vitamin A content which could harm your baby.
It’s important that you keep yourself fit during pregnancy. If you have any worries about the kind of exercise you’re doing, speak with your GP. As a rule, low impact exercise such as swimming and walking is ideal when you are expecting. A special pregnancy yoga class is also worth looking into. Strenuous exercise isn’t a good idea. Now isn’t the time to take up triathlon training!
If there is one thing that will benefit your baby more than anything else (with the exception of a mother’s unconditional love), it is breastfeeding. By breastfeeding your baby, he/she will be less likely to get minor ailments such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. We also know that breastfeeding will help protect your child from more serious things such as childhood diabetes, asthma and eczema.You’ll benefit too. Breastfeeding will reduce your chances of getting breast cancer or ovarian cancer. It cuts the risk of osteoporosis too, keeping your bones healthier. There’s one more benefit you’ll like. You’ll get your figure back more quickly if you breastfeed. It’s true. We didn’t make it up.
Your pelvic floor muscles
There’s no way of sugar coating this. Your pelvic muscles stretch as a result of childbirth and it’s important to get them back in shape, your pelvic floor muscles in particular. They are the ones that keep the neck of your bladder shut and prevent any leaks when you cough, sneeze or laugh. You can see why they’re important.Fortunately, there are some great exercises to get them into shape again. You can get advice on these from your doctor or at your maternity hospital. These exercises are fairly simple and you can do them anywhere. You can even do them on the bus, at your desk or while watching TV.
After your pregnancy
Your baby is important, but so are you. Make sure you look after yourself as well as you look after your newborn. For a start, you should try to rest when you can. Sleep or relax when your baby is asleep. Continue to eat healthily. You need the energy, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby. Make sure you wash your hands well both before and after feeding or changing your newborn. There is a lot of support available to you after the birth of your child. Check out your nearest Mother & Baby support group. And consult your public health nurse or doctor if you have worries about feeding your baby. Understand that it’s normal for you to feel some form of baby blues after giving birth. Keep an eye on this. If you notice that it isn’t passing, please speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional about it.
Your baby and Laya Healthcare
One final thing. Don’t forget to add your baby to your healthcare cover as soon as possible, within 13 weeks. We’ll cover your child for free until your renewal date. It’s our welcome gift to you and your new arrival and our way of looking after you always. Simply log in here to add your new bundle of joy.