Pregnancy & Infant Loss: Tips for Having a Safer Pregnancy
The loss of a baby during pregnancy is not something anyone wants to think about, but it’s a sad reality for many families. If the baby is lost before the 20th week of pregnancy, it’s called a miscarriage. A loss occurring after the 20th week is called a stillbirth. As many as 24,000 babies are stillborn every year in the United States alone. While the causes of infant loss during pregnancy aren’t always apparent, there are steps you can take to ensure a safer pregnancy for you and your little one. Every pregnancy deserves a positive outcome, but sometimes you must become a proactive patient about your healthcare.
Make Necessary Healthy Lifestyle Changes Before Conception
Before becoming pregnant, you should discuss your plans with your doctor. You will need to be as honest as possible about your personal and family medical history. If you have an existing condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you’ll need to make sure it’s under control first and that it’s carefully monitored during your pregnancy. Some healthy lifestyle changes may be in order. For example, if you smoke or drink alcohol, you’ll need to refrain from doing so during pregnancy. You’ll need to eat a well-balanced diet, maintain a healthy body weight, get enough quality rest, drink plenty of water, and take prenatal vitamins to ensure you and your baby get essential nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and folic acid. If you must continue working or plan to travel during pregnancy, take extra precautions.
Regular check-ups and prenatal care are a must to monitor your baby’s health, growth, and development. We urge you to educate yourself as much as possible, whether it’s your first pregnancy or not. Be sure to ask questions and always voice any concerns you may have with your doctor. Be forthcoming about past pregnancies or any known family incidences of birth defects or complications. Part of being a responsible parent is being a proactive parent-to-be.
Assess Your Risk Factors with Your Doctor Before Pregnancy
Identifying pregnancy risk factors early can help your doctor monitor you and your baby more closely. Factors that may place you at a higher risk for a miscarriage or stillbirth include being over the age of 35, being obese or overweight, using assistive reproductive technology to conceive, or having a history of diabetes, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney or thyroid disorders, or previous miscarriages, stillbirths, or other pregnancy issues. If you are considered a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may order urine and blood tests to check for signs of infections, dehydration, diabetes, or high blood pressure throughout your pregnancy, as well as to keep an eye on placental functions.
Trust Your Maternal Instincts & Don’t Wait to Contact Your Doctor
We cannot stress this next point enough. Always trust your maternal instincts. If something seems amiss during your pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Pay close attention to your baby’s movements and their frequency and strength, especially during your second and third trimesters. Although every baby is unique, you should begin to notice patterns when your baby is the most active or relaxed. Any sudden changes in your baby’s habits could be a warning sign that something’s wrong, and your baby may be unhealthy. Timing is critical when it comes to pregnancy complications.
If you ever notice severe swelling, bleeding, headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, cramps, discharge, water breaks, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or vision changes, you should contact your doctor immediately. Never worry about bothering or inconveniencing your healthcare provider. If you have a pregnancy concern, they need – and want – to know about it as soon as possible. Waiting until your next prenatal appointment may make it worse.
Dedicated to Raising Public Awareness About Proactive Patients
Pegalis Law Group, LLC is a New York-based law firm with an emphasis on personal injury and medical negligence cases, many of which involve stillbirths and avoidable birth injuries. For nearly 50 years, we’ve also been committed to raising public awareness about the importance of being proactive patients. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional insights about how you can be proactive about your family’s healthcare.