Ask the Doctor - Healthy Habits During Pregnancy

My name is Shelby Eischens. I am a family practice physician with OB at Avera Medical Group in Brookings. I deliver babies at Brookings Health System, and I've been in Brookings for two years.


Diet During Pregnancy

In pregnancy, your diet should consist of healthy foods, specifically lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, calcium enriched foods, iron enriched foods, low saturated fats, and a lot of protein. In pregnancy, a mother should add about 300 calories to her typical diet before pregnancy.


Foods to Avoid

Foods to avoid in pregnancy include unpasteurized foods, unpasteurized cheeses, milks, fish with mercury, raw fish, raw eggs, any foods containing any of those ingredients should definitely be avoided in pregnancy to decrease the risk of infections that can cause harm to the baby.


Weight Gain

A woman typically gains about 25 to 35 pounds in pregnancy. Some of that depends on their size pre-pregnancy as to specifically how much they will gain but certainly eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will limit that to more of those normal levels.


Exercise

For exercise, a woman can continue with her normal exercises that she does prior to the pregnancy. She definitely should avoid starting something that is much more strenuous than she typically would do. Good activities include walking, yoga, swimming. Some of those activities will help with the stretching, avoiding the back pain in pregnancy, and also helping with that healthy weight gain.


Sleeping Tips

You should get plenty of rest, cause you're providing an environment for your baby which causes you a lot more fatigue and certainly getting a good amount of rest will help avoid some of those stressors that can develop in the pregnancy. So just the aches and pains and things like that. In terms of sleeping positions, most women, especially towards the second to third trimesters of the pregnancy, should try to sleep on the left side to allow that blood flow on the left side of their body. A woman should lie on the left side of the body because of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the feet up to the heart and lies more so on the right side of the body than the left, and that's why when you lie on the right it takes the pressure off of the right side of the body.


Sex

Sexual intercourse during pregnancy is very healthy and a natural part of pregnancy and certainly there's no risks to a healthy pregnancy. Certainly if you have some difficulties in your pregnancy your physician will tell you to avoid that, but that's only those specific pregnancies.


Prescription Medication

Typical prescription medications that you were taking prior to pregnancy should be continued under the direction of your physician. You should not stop any medications unless your physician is aware of that. Certainly any prescriptions that you will start during pregnancy definitely should be okayed by your physician and that includes a lot of the over the counter therapies.


Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs

Smoking, alcohol, and street drugs definitely should not be used in pregnancy. They can cause a lot of harm in babies and not to mention pre-term labor, bleeding complications, miscarriages, and a lot of other health hazards to the baby when the baby is born.


Why Brookings Health System?

Brookings Health System is an excellent place to deliver your baby, we have lots of very helpful, supportive staff, we have a small town feel which provides even more care, I believe, during the delivery process and after delivery.