HEDUAfrica - Pregnancy information

What a pregnant woman should know about healthy living

  • Breast is best! Breast milk contains nutrients – it helps newborns fight infection and develops their immune systems

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    There is a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV via breastfeeding while on ARVs.

    Formula feeding is another feeding option. Although formula feeding will eliminate the risk of transmitting HIV via feeding, it also places the baby at risk of developing other serious life threatening infections.

    Feeding infants pre-chewed food (food which you have partially chewed in your mouth) is not recommended.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Speak to your doctor or nursing sister about what would be the best feeding option for you and your baby.

  • Drinking alcohol while you are pregnant or breastfeeding can cause a lot of harm to your baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Alchohol can hurt your baby's brain and cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

    A child with FAS is brain damaged for life. There is no cure for FAS. Your child will have big problems with learning and will not be able to live a normal life.

    It is never too late to stop drinking, even if you are already pregnant.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Talk to your health care worker or doctor about giving up alcohol.

  • It is never too late to STOP SMOKING

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Smoking is bad for your health and it is bad for your baby.

    No matter how far along you are in pregnancy, it is good to stop smoking.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor today to learn about how to stop smoking.

  • Stop smoking – your body will heal

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    If you stop smoking, your baby will get more oxygen and nutrients. This will help your baby to grow to be healthy.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor today to learn about how to stop smoking.

  • Smoking is very bad for your own health

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    More than half of all smokers die from diseases caused by their smoking.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor today to learn about how to stop smoking.

  • Eating nutritious foods will help you have a good pregnancy and a healthy baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Eat healthy, balanced meals regularly. This will give your body important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, which will help your baby grow.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    A healthy diet has daily portions of:

    • Whole grains
    • Vegetables
    • Fruit
    • Dairy
    • Body building foods (meat/chicken/fish/beans)
    • Good fats

    If you are pregnant, you must take special vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy. Ask your doctor or health care worker to prescribe these.

    Ask your doctor or health care worker to help you plan healthy meals. Swap recipes and meal plans with your friends.

    Africa map of vegetables
    Healthy diet
     
  • Eating certain foods is bad for your baby when you are pregnant

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Do not eat raw meat, raw seafood or raw eggs when you are pregnant.

    Do not drink too much coffee or tea. Do not have too much artificial sweetner.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Be careful! Cook meat, chicken, fish and eggs very well.

    Drink no more than two cups of coffee each day. Drink no more than 5 cups of regular tea each day.

    Good choices: Rooibos tea, fruit juice, milk and water are better for you.

    Ask you health care worker for more information about other healthy foods and drinks that you can have during your pregnancy.

  • Giving up smoking might not be as difficult as you think

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Prepare yourself and set a goal. If you quit smoking, you are prolonging your life. It is easier to quit smoking if you prepare yourself mentally and set goals for yourself.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor today to learn about how to stop smoking.

  • When you drink alcohol it goes into your blood and is transported to your baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    When you drink alcohol, your baby drinks the same amount of alcohol as you do.

    If you drink alcohol while pregnant, it reaches your unborn baby via your bloodstream and the placenta within 20 minutes. Alcohol can seriously harm your baby.

    Do not drink any alcohol when you are pregnant. It is not safe.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Talk to your health care worker or doctor about giving up alcohol.

  • A healthy diet and good exercise can protect your baby's heart and make your baby healthy in life

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Healthy food and gentle exercises during pregnancy can protect your baby's heart. Being healthy when you are pregnant can help stop your child from being overweight or getting diseases, such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar (diabetes), later in life.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Speak to your health care worker or doctor about living a healthy lifestyle. Be active at least three to five times each week. Walk with friends. Plan exercise into your day.

    Africa map of vegetables
    Healthy diet
  • Drinking alcohol when you are pregnant is poisonous for your baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    When you are pregnant, your baby's brain and body is still growing. Drinking alcohol when you are pregnant can seriously hurt your baby.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Talk to your health care worker or doctor about giving up alcohol.

  • You should gain the correct amount of weight for your body type during your pregnancy

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    "Eating for two" is not necessary and could lead to extra weight gain and complications for you and your baby.

    Too much weight gain during your pregnancy can lead to serious heart problems for you and your baby.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor regularly when you are pregnant.

    Make a note of your weight gain.

  • Tobacco smoke contains more than 400 poisonous chemicals

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    These toxic chemicals can harm your unborn baby every time you smoke. In addition, breathing in other people's smoke can also harm your baby.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Visit your health care worker or doctor today to learn about how to stop smoking. Stay away from other people's smoke when you are pregnant.

  • It is important to exercise SAFELY while you are pregnant, and after your baby is born

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Exercise is very important while you are pregnant, but if you do the wrong kind of exercise it could hurt you and your baby.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    It is very important to speak to your doctor before you start to exercise, both during and after pregnancy. 

    Choose gentle forms of exercise such as swimming, stretching, low-impact dancing, gardening and housework. Brisk walking, jogging or stationary cycling are suitable up until you are six months pregnant.

    Do gentle exercises for 30 minutes, three to five times a week. This should be continued after pregnancy.

    If you don't want to exercise for 30 minutes all at once, you can do three ten-minute sessions during the day.

    Tip: Light to moderate exercises increase your heart rate and breathing rate. You should still be able to talk quite easily, but should find singing difficult to do.

    If you feel pain during exercise, stop exercising immediately and see your doctor or health care worker.

  • Healthy eating for mom and baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Eat healthy balanced meals throughout the day. The amount of food and the type of food that you eat is directly linked to the health of you and your baby. Eating healthy meals helps your baby grow and keeps you in good health.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Eat 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch & supper) and snacks in between meals.

    You should be eating plenty of vegetables & fruit every day (at least 5 servings). It is important to drink plenty of clean, safe water every day as well.

    You can eat 6 portions of protein every day. This includes: skinless chicken, lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes (e.g. lentils).  It is preferable to eat high fibre starches, e.g. whole wheat/brown bread, oats and potatoes, but be careful about the amount that you eat. Have at least 3 portions of dairy products, e.g. milk, amasi, yoghurt or cheese (mom’s who need to watch their weight should choose fat-free or low-fat options). A small amount of healthy fats is essential in the diet, e.g. soft tub margarine, oil, peanut butter, nuts or avocado.

    Some mom’s may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements during their pregnancy (especially folate or iron) to ensure that baby’s brain develops properly.

  • Gentle exercise is good for mothers and babies, during and after birth

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Doing light to moderate exercise while you are pregnant helps to improve your breathing, fitness, strength, flexibility, sleeping pattern, stress levels and blood circulation.

    It may make your labour shorter and may reduce your risk of pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure and increased levels of blood sugar.

    Physical exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight after you have given birth.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Speak to your doctor about doing the right type of exercises for you.

  • Feeding your baby after birth

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    At least for the first 4 months after the birth of your baby, you should not feed your baby solid food. Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby. It provides essential nutrients to aid in the growth of your baby and helps you lose weight.

    When you breastfeed it creates an emotional bond between you and your baby, which is good for the mind and soul.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    BREAST IS BEST up to 6 months – 1 year. Alternatively, you can feed your healthy full-term baby a modified cow’s milk.

    Introducing solid food (weaning food) to your baby should start between 4-6 months.  Your baby is growing fast and will need more nutrients to stay strong and healthy.

    It is a good idea to start the weaning process with non-wheat cereals (rice), maize, fruit, vegetables or potato purees. Small amounts (1-2 teaspoons) are tried at first and are gradually increased to 3 meals at six months.

  • Strenuous exercises may harm your baby

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

    Strenuous exercises might strain your body, so when you are pregnant you should choose safer exercises.

    Being too active when it is hot outside might decrease the amount of blood flowing to the baby.

    If you are so short of breath that you can't talk easily while you are exercising, you must stop! This means you are doing the wrong type of exercises for you.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Do not swim during the first six weeks of pregnancy, because you might catch an infection from the water.

    After the first three months of pregnancy, do not do exercise that involves lying on your back.

    Do not do activities if you might fall and hurt yourself and your baby. Do not do sports if you might get pushed or hurt. For example: ball and team sports that involve contact with an object.

    Do not jump or change direction quickly.

    For three months after giving birth, do not do difficult exercise like aerobics or jogging. You must let your muscles and joints heal. 

 

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