Pregnancy

What's good for you is good for your baby

You’re pregnant! That’s wonderful. The best thing you can do now is take care of yourself. By being good to yourself, you’re being good to your baby. A lot of what you do now will affect your baby, sometimes long after he or she is born.

That is why it’s important to eat healthy, exercise, see your doctor and change any bad habits (like drinking, smoking or using drugs) that can affect your baby’s health.

It’s a good idea to visit with your doctor before the baby is born to talk about issues like feeding, circumcision, illnesses and other questions you may have.

If you are pregnant, it is also important to avoid exposure to lead that could make you and/or your baby sick. Lead in a person’s blood can cause dangers.  Some of these dangers are slow learning, damage to the brain, trouble paying attention or sitting still, anger issues and trouble getting along with others, and physical aches and pain. Here are some things you should know:

  • Do not use lead‑glazed ceramic pottery for cooking, storage and/or serving food.
  • Take caution if you live in a house built before 1978; lead based paints could still be on walls and woodwork.
  • Check children’s toys and products such as vinyl or plastic backpacks, car seats and lunch boxes.  Lead can be released from burned, destroyed or deteriorating products.
  • The pigment found in some hair dyes and cosmetics may contain lead.  Avoid hair dyes and check cosmetics for lead.
  • Avoid imported candy.

To find more information about lead poisoning, you can visit www.azdhs.gov/phs/oeh/children/lead/. Do you need help finding a provider? Call Mercy Maricopa Member Services at 602‑586‑1841 or 1‑800‑564‑5465; (TTY/TDD) 711.

Eating healthy for both of you

Eating for two means that what you eat must support you and your baby. A healthy diet will help you keep unwanted weight off and make you and your baby stronger.

What should you eat?

  • A low-fat diet is your best choice. You can eat meat, chicken and fish as long as it’s lean.
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains (oats, corn, quinoa, brown and black rice, wild rice, wheat, wheatberries, and others)
  • Foods that are rich in calcium

 You should stay away from certain types of fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. They may contain high levels of mercury. Make sure to cook meat, eggs and fish well. Avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.

Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

WIC is a government program that provides healthy foods for moms and their babies. As part of the program, you can learn about how to cook healthy meals, get referrals and help with breastfeeding. Call 1-800-252-5942 to apply for these free services.

text4baby

text4baby is a free text message service that sends you important information about prenatal care, safety and your baby’s development. To sign up for Text4Baby: Text “Baby” to 511411. Enter your baby’s due date and your zip code. And wait for your texts. Or sign up online.

Can you exercise during pregnancy?

Certain sports are safe during pregnancy, even for beginners:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Aerobics

 If you were exercising before you got pregnant, it's usually OK to continue. If you don't already exercise, start slowly and don't overdo it. 

Check with your doctor before starting or continuing any exercise plan while you’re pregnant.

Helpful healthy tips

  • Do not smoke or use alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for help with quitting, if necessary.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking
  • Limit coffee and other caffeinated drinks to one or two cups a day.
  • Ask your doctor how much weight you should gain. For many women, 25 to 35 pounds is about right, but you may need to gain more or less depending on your weight before pregnancy. Don't try to lose weight during pregnancy.
  • Be sure to get enough folic acid. To help prevent certain birth defects, pregnant women should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid a day. Ask your doctor about multivitamin or prenatal vitamins.
  • If you have a cat, have someone else change the litter box. This can help prevent toxoplasmosis, a disease that can seriously harm unborn babies.
  • Ask your doctor if you need any shots or vaccinations.

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