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5. Some General Lifestyle Precautions

Some women are concerned about using saunas, hot tubs and spas during pregnancy. They want to know if it is OK to relax in this way.

We recommend you don’t take a chance with a sauna, hot tub or spa. Your baby relies on you to maintain correct body temperature. If your body temperature gets high enough, and stays there for a while, it may hurt the baby.

There is disagreement about using electric blankets and electric warming pads to keep you warm in bed. Some experts question whether they can cause health problems.

Electric blankets and warming pads produce a low-level electromagnetic field. The growing baby may be more sensitive than an adult to these electromagnetic fields. Because we have no “acceptable level” of exposure for you and baby, it’s probably best not to use them during pregnancy. There are other ways to keep warm, such as down comforters and wool blankets or snuggling with your partner. Any of these may be a better choice.

6. Your Nutrition

Fruits and vegetables are important during pregnancy. Because different kinds of produce are available in different seasons, they are a great way to add variety to your diet. They are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can supply you with iron, folate, calcium and vitamin C.

The FDA is updating labels on prescription medicine to include a fetal-risk summary. This will tell you the possible drug effects on a fetus. It is also updating labels to include information on the amount of a medicine that may be present in breast milk after you take it. Ask your pharmacist about it if you’re interested.

When buying vitamins, look for the U.S.P. verified symbol, which means the vitamins are usually good quality.

When you eat raw veggies, include a little fat to help absorb nutrients from the vegetables. A little salad dressing, a piece of avocado or some nuts may also enhance the flavor. When you don’t feel like eating your vegetables, soups can add variety and substance to your meal plan. Broth-based vegetable soups may provide more nutrients and fewer calories than a sandwich or a plate of pasta. To add veggies to your meal plan, try grilling, baking or broiling them. Stir-fry veggies with a little bit of meat, or add beans to stews and soups. Make tabbouleh, and flavor it with herbs.

Tasty, Low-Cal Sources of Vitamin C

Five excellent sources of vitamin C are easy to add to your diet, and if you’re watching your weight, they’re also low in calories! Try the following:

• strawberries—94 mg in 1 cup

• orange juice—82 mg in 1 cup

• kiwi fruit—74 mg in 1 medium kiwi fruit

• broccoli—58mg in ½ cup, cooked

• red peppers—57mg in ¼ of a medium red pepper

7. Vitamin C Is Important

Vitamin C can be very important during pregnancy. It can help you and baby in many different ways.

The recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 85mg—a bit more than what is contained in a prenatal vitamin. You can get some of the extra vitamin C you need by eating fruits and vegetables rich in the vitamin.

Each day, eat one or two servings of fruit high in vitamin C and at least one dark-green or deep-yellow vegetable for extra iron, fiber and folate. Fruits and vegetables you may choose, and their serving sizes, include the following:

• grapes—¾ cup

• banana, orange, apple—1 medium

• dried fruit—¼ cup

• fruit juice—½ cup

• canned or cooked fruit—½ cup

• broccoli, carrots or other vegetables—½ cup

• potato—1 medium

• leafy green vegetables—1 cup

• vegetable juice—¼ cup

Don’t take in more than the recommended dose of vitamin C; too much may cause stomach cramps and diarrhea. It can also negatively affect baby’s metabolism.

8. Avoid Anxiety-Producing TV Programs

Some women get very anxious after watching television programs dealing with labor and delivery. These programs may be interesting to watch, but we want you to be aware they may be “worst-case scenarios.” By that we mean they may deal with situations that are not the norm for a large percentage of deliveries in the United States.

Most labor/delivery experiences are not as critical or as sensational as what is shown on TV. Think about it—who wants to watch an ordinary labor and delivery? There’s no real drama in it, so these programs often focus on some kind of unusual problem a woman could face.

Even when the content is not sensational, we have found pregnant women who watch these programs often get anxious. If you haven’t experienced labor and delivery before, you may be a little scared about what will happen during your own labor and delivery. That’s normal.

Labor and delivery is an unknown—no one can tell you what will happen to you until it happens. When your labor begins, your healthcare team will take care of you, in the best way they can, to ensure the safe delivery of your baby and your good health.

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