5. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

It’s possible you could have diarrhea or a cold during pregnancy, as well as other viral infections such as the flu. These problems may raise concerns for you.

• What can I do when I feel ill?

• What medicine or treatment is OK?

• If I’m sick, should I take my prenatal vitamins?

• If I’m sick and unable to eat my usual diet, what can I do?

If you become sick during pregnancy, call the office. Get your healthcare provider’s advice about a plan of action. He or she can advise you about what medicine to take to help you feel better. Even if it’s only a cold or the flu, your healthcare provider wants to know when you’re feeling ill. If any further measures are needed, your healthcare provider can recommend them.

Is there anything you can do to help yourself? Yes. If you have diarrhea or a possible viral infection, increase your fluid intake. Drink a lot of water, juice and other clear fluids, such as broth. To help you retain fluid, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to a cup of water or tea; the glucose in table sugar helps the intestines absorb water instead of releasing it. A bland diet without solid food may help you feel a little better.

Grandma’s Remedy

If you want to avoid using medication, try a folk remedy. If you have allergies, try some local honey. Made by bees in the area, it contains very tiny amounts of the pollen that causes your sneezes and sniffles. Eating very small amounts of it can work like allergy shots by helping you tolerate a pollen. Start with ¼ teaspoon a day, and very slowly increase up to 2 teaspoons a day.

Going off your regular diet for a few days won’t hurt you or baby, but you do need to drink plenty of fluids. Solid foods may be difficult to handle and can make diarrhea a bigger problem. Milk products may also make diarrhea worse. If diarrhea continues beyond 24 hours, call your healthcare provider. Ask what medicine you can safely take for diarrhea during pregnancy.

When you’re sick, it’s OK to skip your prenatal vitamin for a few days. However, begin taking it again when you’re able to keep food down. Don’t take any medicine to control diarrhea without first consulting your healthcare provider. Usually a viral illness with diarrhea is a short-term problem and won’t last more than a few days. You may have to stay home from work or rest in bed until you feel better.

6. Your Nutrition

You need to drink water during pregnancy—lots of it! Fluid helps you in a lot of ways. You may feel better during your pregnancy if you drink more water than you normally do.

When you don’t drink water, you can become dehydrated. If you’re dehydrated, you can tire more easily. Once you’re dehydrated, it may reduce the amount of nutrients baby receives from you. Your blood thickens, making it harder to pass nutrients to baby. Dehydration may also increase your risk of problems.

Our bodies contain 10 to 12 gallons of water. Studies show that for every 15 calories your body burns, you need about 1 tablespoon of water. If you burn 2000 calories a day, you need to drink well over 2 quarts of water! As calorie needs increase during pregnancy, so does your need for water.

New guidelines suggest you should drink 101 ounces of fluid a day during pregnancy. Water should account for at least 50 ounces of this intake. Water in food can make up another 20 ounces. The other 30+ ounces should come from milk, juice and other beverages. Sip water and other fluids throughout the day. If you decrease your consumption later in the day, you may save yourself some trips to the bathroom at night.

Keep the consumption of caffeinated beverages low. Tea, coffee and cola may contain sodium and caffeine, which act as diuretics. They essentially increase your water needs.

Some of the common problems women experience during pregnancy may be eased by drinking water. Headaches, uterine cramping and bladder infections may be less of a problem when you drink lots of water.

Dad Tip

When you ride together in the car with your partner, ask if you can help her in any way. You may offer to assist her getting in and out of the car. Ask if she needs help adjusting her seat belt or the car seat. Try to make riding and driving as easy and accessible as possible for her. You may propose trading vehicles (if you have more than one), if it’s more comfortable for her to drive the other car.

Check your urine to see if you’re drinking enough. If it’s light yellow to clear, you’re getting enough fluid. Dark-yellow urine is a sign to increase your fluid intake. Don’t wait till you get thirsty to drink something. By the time you get thirsty, you’ve already lost at least 1% of your body’s fluids.

Your Drinking Water

Water supplies in the United States are some of the least-contaminated in the world. Most of our country has high-quality drinking water. Most experts agree tap water in the United States is safe to drink. Often tap water contains minerals that have been removed from bottled water.

Fitness waters may benefit you if you’re very active. Ask you healthcare provider for more information.

Drinking water contaminated with chemical byproducts from chlorine may not be safe for you to drink. Chlorine is often added to drinking water to disinfect it. When added to water that contains organic matter, such as from farms or lawns, it can form unhealthy compounds (for pregnant women), such as chloroform. Check with your local water company if you’re concerned.

Do not rely on bottled water as safer than tap water. One study showed nearly 35% of over 100 brands of bottled water were contaminated with chemicals or bacteria. However, tap water must meet certain minimum standards if it is supplied by a municipal water company, so you know it’s safe to drink. In addition, some bottled water contains sugar, caffeine and/or herbs.

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