Beyond Conception – Your Guide To Healthy Pregnancy!

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Congratulations, you are pregnant! You are now a member of our growing graduate club. It was a great pleasure to guide you through your fertility journey, and now before you embark on an exciting new journey, parenthood, we want to make sure you have all the information you need for a healthy pregnancy. We prepared for you a comprehensive guide with all the resources and information you will need. On behalf of Juno staff, we wanted to wish you and your family all the best on this new journey. Make sure you come to visit us with your little one/s!

Prenatal Diet and supplements

Healthy nutrition is an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and especially true when you are pregnant. Here are a few tips:
  • Follow Canada’s food guide for healthy food recommendations.
  • Avoid skipping meals. Eat meals and snacks every 2 – 3 hours during the day.
  •  “Eating for two” doesn’t mean you should eat twice as much. Most women need 300 calories a day more during at least the last six months of pregnancy than they do pre-pregnancy. However, not all calories are equal. Make sure the calories you consume are  from healthy and nutrient sources.
Visit the Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator to learn how much weight gain is healthy for you during pregnancy. Foods to avoid:
  • Raw fish - especially shellfish, oysters and clams
  • Undercooked meat, poultry, seafood
  • Hot dogs and deli meats (for example, non-dried deli-meats, pâté, refrigerated smoked seafood, and fish)
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs (homemade Caesar vinaigrette, runny eggs)
  • Unpasteurized milk products - soft and semi-soft cheeses like brie or Camembert
  • Unpasteurized juices - unpasteurized apple cider
  • Raw sprouts - especially alfalfa sprouts
Recommended Supplements: Make sure you use Health Canada registered supplements and to speak with your healthcare provider before you start taking any supplements. Further reading

Exercise

Physical activity has many benefits for you and your growing baby. Unless you have a complication that prevents you from exercising, all pregnant women should be physically active throughout pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. It is crucial to listen to your body, don’t overdo it and keep safe during your practice. Avoid dehydration by consuming enough water. Avoid physical activity in a hot and humid environment. Make sure you consult your doctor before starting any new physical activity during pregnancy. Read more

Smoking/vaping

Smoking is harmful to pregnant women and their babies. Smoking can cause complications during pregnancy. It can cause babies to be born too soon or too small. Premature babies have higher risks of having severe health problems. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is higher in babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Although the aerosol of e-cigarettes generally has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy.  Read more

Alcohol

Alcohol can slow down the baby’s growth, affect the baby’s brain, and cause congenital disabilities. There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Avoid any drinks with alcohol during pregnancy. Read more

Oral Health

Your hormone levels change during pregnancy. This change can affect your oral health and your risk of developing gum disease (gingivitis) and infection of the bone holding the teeth in place (periodontitis). Periodontitis has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes such as having a pre-term delivery or a low birth-weight baby.    Recommendations:
  • Practice good oral hygiene: floss daily, brush your teeth twice a day
  • Schedule a checkup in your first trimester to have your teeth cleaned, and your oral health checked. 
  • Make sure you inform your dentist you are pregnant.
  • If you need dental work, like fillings, the best time to have it done is the second trimester.
  • Avoid any x-ray test while pregnant.Read more

Routine tests during pregnancy 

Throughout your pregnancy, there are several tests that your health care provider may recommend to assess your and your baby's health:
All women should be offered prenatal genetic screening. The results of the genetic screening can provide valuable information, but also can lead to difficult choices. No matter your decision, your healthcare provider will support you through the process.   Genetic screening - A screening test can only estimate risk and cannot confirm if the developing fetus has one of these conditions.  Screening tests include: integrated prenatal screening (IPS), first-trimester screening (FTS), maternal serum screening (MSS-quad), NIPT and obstetrical ultrasound. Read more

Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) -is a method of determining the risk that the fetus will be born with certain genetic abnormalities. NIPT can be performed as early as 9 weeks of pregnancy at some labs and results are typically reported within 7-10 days.  NIPT analyzes small fragments of DNA (cfDNA) that are circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood. During pregnancy, the mother’s bloodstream contains a mix of cfDNA that comes from her cells and cells from the placenta. cfDNA from the placenta is usually identical to the DNA of the fetus. NIPT is most often used to look for chromosomal disorders that are caused by the presence of an extra or missing copy (aneuploidy) of a chromosome such as
NIPT is a noninvasive because it requires only drawing blood from the pregnant woman and does not pose any risk to the fetus.\ NIPT is a screening test and results are reported as either a “high risk” or “low risk” result. which means that it will not give a definitive answer about whether or not a fetus has a genetic condition. Read More
Amniocentesis: The amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for genetic testing. It is usually carried out 15–18 weeks of pregnancy. It has a 0.5-1% risk for complications, including miscarriage.
CVS:  Chorionic Villus is sampled and tested for chromosomal abnormalities. CVS is usually carried out between 10–12 weeks of pregnancy. It has a 1-2% risk for complications, including miscarriage.
Read more
Hepatitis B virus is an infectious liver disease that can be transmitted to the baby. Therefore, all pregnant women are routinely screened for Hepatitis B early in pregnancy.

  • Dating Ultrasound - A dating ultrasound gives an accurate estimate of how far along you are in your pregnancy. This test is usually done during 7-12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Anatomic Ultrasound - This test is offered during the second trimester. During this test, the ultrasonographer will perform a complete anatomy check of the developing baby to screen for any abnormalities. 

All Canadian provinces currently recommend prenatal HIV screening to all pregnant women. Read more
All pregnant women should be offered blood glucose screening for Gestational Diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.  The purpose of the test is to check how your body is handling sugars. Your blood will be tested 1 hour after you consume a glucose drink. If your blood sugar is normal after the challenge, you will not require any more testing. If it is high, you will have a second test.  
Problems can occur if the mother is Rh-negative and the baby you are carrying is Rh-positive, in that case, the mother might produce antibodies against the Rh factor. The concern is with your next pregnancy. If your next baby is Rh-positive, these Rh antibodies can cross the placenta and damage the baby's red blood cells. If you're Rh-negative and you have been Rh-sensitized, and you will need an injection of a blood product called Rh immune globulin that will prevent your body from producing Rh antibodies. read more
Screening for Group B Streptococcus is a common and routine part of pregnancy. GBS is a common bacterium that is often found in the vagina, rectum, or bladder. Around 15-40% of all pregnant women are GBS positive. About 40-70% of those will pass the bacteria to their babies during the birth process, and 1 in 2000, babies will develop an infection. Read more  

Common symptoms:

Every pregnancy is different, and discomfort symptoms vary from woman to woman. The following are some common discomforts: 

Nausea and vomiting – are very common in early pregnancy. Here are a few tips to help you cope with them. Read more 

Fatigue –As the body works overtime to provide a nourishing environment for the fetus, it is expected for you feel more tired. Make sure you listen to your body and take breaks when you need them and have a good night’s sleep. It is important to rule out underlying causes like anemia.

Heartburn and indigestion-  is caused by pressure on the intestines and stomach. It can be prevented or reduced by eating smaller meals throughout the day and by avoiding lying down shortly after eating.

Swelling or fluid retention – Mild swelling is common during pregnancy, but severe swelling that lasts may be a sign of preeclampsia (abnormal condition marked by high blood pressure). Lying on the left side, elevating the legs, and wearing support hose and comfortable shoes may help to relieve the swelling. Be sure to notify your healthcare provider or midwife about sudden swelling, especially in the hands or face, or rapid weight gain.

Hemorrhoids – hemorrhoids are common in late pregnancy. Avoiding constipation and straining may help to prevent hemorrhoids. Always check with your healthcare provider or midwife before using any medicine to treat this condition.

 

Resources:

The MotHERS program 

Mother Risk Program 

The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Prenatal education Ontario

Healthy pregnancy – Waterloo Region 

 

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