5 Ways To Prevent Complications During Pregnancy

Editorial Team

Pregnancy is a scary experience in Nigeria as we know that 50,000 Nigerian women lose their lives every year due to pregnancy and delivery complications.

So what can you do to prevent complications and give birth to a healthy baby?

1.Get early and adequate antenatal care

Antenatal care (ANC) is the care a pregnant woman receives during her pregnancy through a series of consultations with trained health care workers such as midwives, nurses, and doctors.

The most important thing you can do to try to have a healthy baby is getting early and adequate antenatal care. It is recommended expectant mothers receive at least four antenatal visits, in which a health worker can check for signs of ill health, such as underweight, anaemia or infection. During ANC, the health of the foetus can also be monitored.

2. Take your prenatal vitamins

Pregnancy can create extra nutritional demands on a mother and so this is why is advisable for women to take prenatal vitamins. A good multivitamin that contains folic acid is recommended. This is because folic acid deficiency is associated with megaloblastic anaemia and birth defects (especially neural tube defects). Experts recommend that all women take folic acid (400 micrograms [0.4 mg] folate daily) for a minimum of one month before conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

3. Eat a healthy diet

Another way to prevent complications during pregnancy is to stay healthy by eating a healthy and well balanced diet.

Your growing baby gets every nutrient needed for growth from your bloodstream and if you don't eat the right foods, the baby cannot get the nutrients it needs.

The RCOG recommends that pregnant women should base their meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, choosing wholegrain if possible. Pregnant women are also adviced to eat at least five portions of different fruit and vegetables every day rather than foods that are higher in fat and calories.

Women are advised to eat as little fried food as possible and avoid drinks that are high in sugar. Women are also to eat protein everyday as well as dairy foods which are rich in calcium. Pregnant women should also limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams (mg) per day, for example two cups of coffee.

4. Get treatment for high blood pressure

Ensure that your blood pressure is monitored during pregnancy and if you have a history of high blood pressure talk to your doctor or health care provider. Poorly-controlled high blood pressure before and during pregnancy puts a pregnant woman and her baby at risk for problems.

For example high blood pressure is associated with an increased risk for maternal complications such as preeclampsia, placental abruption and gestational diabetes.

Getting treatment for high blood pressure is important before, during, and after pregnancy.

Read more on complications during pregnancy.