ALCOHOL, DRUGS & SMOKING

There has been a lot of debate over what a woman should and should not consume during pregnancy. Women who smoke and drink during pregnancy have the legal right to make these decisions for themselves.

But the truth about alcohol, tobacco, drugs and even your everyday diet is that what you take into your system directly affects your developing baby. Drinking and smoking will have effects on your fetus, whether you have the legal right to use these substances or not.

Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause seizures in children; retardation and loss of muscle control can also be attributed to a mother drinking during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy has been known to lead to low birth weight in infants.

Ask yourself if the pleasure you derive from cigarettes or occasional drinks are worth a lifetime of potential effects for your child. The bottom line is that everything you consume during your pregnancy will affect your baby’s health.

WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS

As a general rule of thumb, eat healthful foods. Your doctor or health clinic can tell you what to eat to get all the vitamins and iron that both you and your baby need. These same people can tell you what kinds of exercise are good and what strenuous activities to avoid.

Stay away from junk food. They contain high amounts of fats, salts, and sugars, which are not the foods you need to nourish your baby. Instead, eat from the four main food groups every day (dairy products, breads and grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and meat). And make sure you drink plenty of water.

Your “things to avoid” list includes alcohol, tobacco, drugs, caffeine, and prescription medication. Also avoid over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, cold remedies and sinus relief medicines, which can also negatively affect your baby. Talk to your doctor before you take any form of medication during pregnancy.