Pregnancy is a unique experience combined with a mixture of intense emotions. For new expectant mothers, wrestling with unfamiliar feelings or uncertainties is very natural. Having a strong support network and a good medical care team is essential to dissipate fears and concerns, and is necessary for the development of an optimal plan for delivery and neonatal care. October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, so we are dedicating this blog post to providing expectant mothers with certain essential care guidelines from our doctors here at HealthTap.
The HealthTap platform can be an invaluable tool with which you can educate yourself about prenatal care. It also allows you to connect with a HealthTap doctor, who can look after your pregnancy needs. Every woman, whether already pregnant or trying to get pregnant, should be aware about two key topics: folic acid supplements and maternal vaccinations.
Women actively trying to get pregnant, as well as those in their first trimester, should be taking folic acid. Folic acid can help significantly reduce the incidence of birth defects and subsequent infant loss. In 1996, the FDA mandated that all grain products labeled as ‘enriched’, such as breads and cereals, have folic acid added to them. Following the mandated implementation, researchers have found that the prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) has significantly reduced globally. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended the following guidelines, which are still commonly followed today:
- Women of childbearing age (15–45 years old) should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, through fortification, supplementation, and diet
- One month before becoming pregnant and continuing through the first trimester of pregnancy, 4000 micrograms of folic acid should be consumed daily
- To reduce the incidence of recurrence, women who have already had an NTD-affected pregnancy should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, even when not planning to become pregnant
Talk to your doctor about vaccination recommendations both before and during your pregnancy. There are vaccines you may need to protect yourself and your baby. According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following vaccinations are recommended:
- One month or more before pregnancy: MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
- During pregnancy (27 and 36 weeks): TdaP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine
- Anytime during pregnancy: the flu vaccine
Maternal vaccines, keeping physically active, following a healthy diet, and taking the required prenatal vitamins are all key components of a successful pregnancy. Connect with a HealthTap doctor today to learn more.
Author: Simitha Singh Rambiritch