November is March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Month. Below is an editorial from Dr. Allyson Jones, OB/Gyn with Carolina Women’s Physicians at Lexington Medical Center, about the best ways to ensure a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
In a woman’s life, there comes an exciting time when she begins to plan her future pregnancy. It is important to take the time to make sure that she is both physically and emotionally prepared for all the changes that come with the addition of a baby. Here are some suggestions that could help prevent an early delivery.
1. Set up a prenatal consultation: You should schedule an appointment 2-3 months prior to wanting to conceive. Your physician can start you on prenatal vitamins, discuss your specific menstrual calendar, review your current exercise regimen and evaluate all current medications to prevent future complications. During this visit, your physician can identify any risk factors that could predispose you to delivering prematurely.
2. Make your health and your baby’s health a priority: It is important to notify your provider as soon as you know that you are pregnant. Your prenatal visits should become an integral part of your busy schedule. Prioritize your week to ensure time for a balanced diet, seven hours of sleep per night and at least two days with exercise. By taking these small steps, you are less likely to experience pregnancy complications that can lead to an early delivery.
3. Accept support. During this exciting time, it is normal to rely on people around you to perform your normal activities. Help can come from your spouse, best friend, family members and neighbors. Taking advantage of their love and support will ensure that your transition into motherhood is as fun and smooth as possible.
4. Taking care of a baby is HARD. Remember that postpartum blues and depression affect many women. It can be a struggle to establish a new routine at home, at work and with older siblings. You may feel overwhelmed and tired, but ultimately you should bask in the JOY of providing for the new addition to your family.