HEALTH TIPS FOR EXPECTANT MOTHERS
Lots of activity takes place during this period of expectancy including traveling to various destinations using different modes of transport. Long distance traveling may predispose a pregnant woman to clot formation, which is a dangerous complication called deep venous thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs due to stasis of blood in the lower limbs for a long time.
Traveling long distances causes prolonged stasis of blood which can cause clot formation. Although long distance travel is not contraindicated for healthy pregnant women, it’s important to take certain precautions to reduce the risk of DVT.
Pregnant women traveling long distances by road or train are advised to take 30 minutes breaks every 2 hours of traveling. During the breaks, they should walk around to improve blood flow from the legs.
Air travel in pressurized airplanes is allowed usually up to 36 weeks. A doctor’s recommendation that you’re your fit to fly is normally required. The above apply to those flying for many hours.
Adequate hydration is crucial while traveling. Lack of water in the body (dehydration) is a risk factor for clot formation. While traveling it’s advisable to take plenty of fluids especially water to prevent dehydration.
Seat belts should be used all the time as this significantly reduces ejection from the motor vehicle during an accident thus saving lives.
Expectant mothers with complications such as high blood pressure, rupture of membranes, premature labor, bleeding in pregnancy should not travel. Consultation with a gynecologist is important before traveling.
Pregnant women near their due date usually from 36 weeks should not travel far from the facility where they will deliver as labor can begin earlier than expected.
Consumption of Alcoholic beverages is very common during festivities. It's important expectant women to understand that alcohol is completely contraindicated in pregnancy and must be avoided. Alcohol is harmful to the baby. It does close the placenta. In fact, fetal blood levels approximate those of the mother. There is no safe quantity of alcohol in pregnancy hence need to avoid it completely.
Alcohol consumption may cause a number of congenital malformations such as brain anomalies; abnormal face, low birth weight, mental retardation and many other anomalies. Alcohol intake also increases the risk of miscarriage.
In terms of physical activity rigorous and high impact exercises should be avoided. Activities such as walking and swimming are safe for the normal healthy pregnant woman. Sports like skiing, gymnastics, motorcycling, basketball, football, scuba and all high-impact sports should be avoided. Adequate hydration must be maintained during exercises.
Traveling and Camping at very high attitudes generally more than 10,000 feet above sea level should be avoided because of decreased oxygen pressures at such high attitudes which can affect the baby and mother.
It’s very important to have contacts especially mobile phone of your gynecologist or antenatal care provider during this festive season. This is crucial especially when you get a problem away from your provider. Your gynecologist would be able to advise you and if it’s a problem which requires urgent attention they can link you up with a colleague working in the area you’re visiting or link you up with a hospital where you can get assistance. If you don’t have contacts for your doctor, it’s advisable to visit a reputable hospital within your vicinity.