Pregnancy can be a very overwhelming time for the couple especially if they are not mentally and physically prepared for it. Whether it is a planned pregnancy or it takes you by surprise, it is always wise to educate yourself about what to expect. Make sure you are well informed about what to do. Make sure you follow all the necessary precautions during 9th month pregnancy so that you do not have any complications during delivery.
From the very start, pregnancy comes with experiences and horror tales no one looks forward to. The morning sickness, the swelling and the weight gain and oh! the aches and pains. As the end of final trimester nears, new fears start arising. Will I have a normal delivery? Will I be able to nurse my baby? Will my weight go back to normal?
Nobody wants the mother or the baby to suffer especially when they have come so far as the ninth month. If you take these precautions during 9th month pregnancy, you can ensure a safe and healthy delivery of your child and get some peace of mind.
The Dos – Tips For 9th Month Of Pregnancy
The safe to-do list during 9th month of pregnancy includes:
1. Stay Hydrated
Do drink plenty of water as dehydration can cause abdominal pain and early contractions, which you want to avoid at all costs. The baby is not ready to come out until 37 weeks. Pre-term and low birth weight babies come with problems of their own so you want to have a healthy, full term baby.
2. Eat fruits and Vegetables
Do eat fresh fruits and vegetables as they are loaded with fiber and essential minerals and vitamins. Wash them thoroughly before consuming to prevent any infections. The high fiber content also prevents constipation which can result in straining which you definitely want to avoid during the final months of pregnancy.
3. Exercise and stay in shape
Do exercise during ninth month of pregnancy for normal delivery. Walking for 30 minutes daily and doing the kegels and the squats will not only speed up normal delivery but also strengthen pelvic floor muscles which will help control urinary incontinence, often faced by women during pregnancy and right after delivery.
4. Regular Checkups
Do get blood work and imaging testing done. Ultrasounds are the safest imaging technology available to monitor fetal growth. Be it the regular ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound or 3D or 4D imaging. If the doctor thinks you need it, do not hesitate. If there is family history of genetic disorders, the doctors might want amniocentesis done for genetic testing of amniotic fluid. That can help you and the doctor be prepared for any future surprises. Know your blood group in case you might need a blood transfusion after delivery.
5. Get your shots
Do get a flu shot and a Tdap during pregnancy. According to Center of Disease Control and Prevention it is safe and highly recommended to get the vaccination for influenza, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis during pregnancy. If you are lacking in any of the other regular vaccines like Hep B or measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) make sure to ask your doctor about them. Some vaccines are safe during pregnancy, others need to be given before you conceive.
6. It’s okay to travel
A lot of people have concerns over long distance travel especially during ninth month of pregnancy. As far as precautions during 9th month pregnancy go, it’s not really a big deal. The reason that travel is mostly discouraged is because you don’t want to be very far away from the hospital if your contractions begin.
Although there is no contraindication to air travel if you have normal pregnancy with no high risks involved, it is advised to keep doing leg stretches every couple of hours to prevent leg swelling and venous clotting. Use a compression stocking if you deem necessary.
7. Having sex is okay
8. Sleep on your left side
Try to sleep on the left side to prevent pressure on the vena cava, the main blood supply to the heart that lies on the right side.
9. Manage your weight
Maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. The ideal weight gain for a pregnant woman is 25-35 pounds (10-12 kg) throughout pregnancy. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds whereas overweight women may need to gain only 15-25 pounds throughout pregnancy. If you have already gained that much weight, try maintaining it during the last months. Exercise during pregnancy and follow a strict well balanced diet during pregnancy so you can maintain weight.
10. Educate yourself
Be well prepared for the time you go into labor. Read our article on Pregnancy Tips for normal delivery for some great advice.
The Don’ts – Precautions During 9th Month Pregnancy
Precautions during 9th month pregnancy include:
1. Don’t eat Fish
Avoid raw fish (as in sushi), do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because of high mercury content. Do no more than 12 ounces of cooked fish a week. Limit albacore, tuna (even canned) to once a week. Fish sticks and fast food sandwiches are commonly made from fish low in mercury.
Cook meat, poultry and eggs properly as eating raw fish, meats or poultry may increase your risk of infection or parasitic disease. Cooking food destroys bacteria and parasites.
Do not use unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses which can also cause infections. Oily and spicy food may cause heart burn so you may want to avoid that. Lowering salt intake will decrease overall body swelling.
2. Avoid X-rays
Avoid X-Rays in any form, they are not safe during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition for which you need to have an x-ray like bone fracture or lung disease, do let the technician know that you are pregnant. Inform security check points at airports and other places about your condition, where they might use x-rays for security purposes.
3. Avoid Painkillers
There is evidence that common painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are associated with reproductive disorders in male fetus. After 30 weeks of pregnancy, ibuprofen can even cause fetal death. Researchers have found that women who took a combination of mild painkillers during the second trimester of pregnancy had a greater risk of giving birth to baby boys with undescended testicles, a condition known as cryptorchidism, which may result in poor semen quality and testicular cancer.
Researchers also found that women who used more than one painkiller at the same time had a seven-fold increase in risk of having sons with some form of cryptorchidism in comparison to women who took no painkillers.
4. Avoid Teratogenic Medicines
Consult doctor before starting any medicine for treatment of any disease. Some drugs can cause birth defects in new born babies. Certain antibiotics, acne drugs, blood thinners, anti-hypertensive drugs, anti-convulsants, anti-cancer treatments, thyroid drugs, anti-rheumatoid drugs etc can have devastating effects on the fetus.
5. Don’t gain too much weight too fast
Too much weight gain during pregnancy can cause gestational diabetes. Risk factors include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, delivering a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, history of still birth or history of gestational diabetes in the past. It is very important to follow the diet, exercise and blood sugar monitoring plans given to you by your doctor.
6. No Alcohol
As far as precautions during 9th month pregnancy go, avoiding alcohol is an absolute must. You must completely avoid alcoholic beverages while pregnant. Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause the baby to develop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which has no cure. Signs and symptoms include birth defects, slow growth, facial abnormalities and mental retardation.
By giving in to your alcohol craving, you could be seriously harming the baby!
7. Blood Pressure Control
Preeclampsia, also called Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) or toxemia, is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and postpartum period. Risk factors include twin or multiple pregnancies, high blood pressure before 20 weeks of pregnancy, teen pregnancies, diabetes or history of preeclampsia during a previous pregnancy. Symptoms include rise in blood pressure, protein in urine and rapid weight gain due to fluid retention. If left untreated, preeclampsia can be life threatening for the mother and the baby.
Eclampsia is the onset of seizures or convulsions in a pre-eclamptic woman.
HELLP syndrome is a variant of preeclampsia and is a life-threatening pregnancy complication. It can occur during the ninth month of pregnancy, or sometimes even after delivery. H is for hemolysis or breaking down of red blood cells, EL is for elevated liver enzymes and LP stands for low platelet count.
8. Rh Incompatibility
If the mother is Rh negative and the baby’s blood is Rh positive, there is an Rh factor incompatibility. Mother’s blood will produce antibodies against the Rh factor present in baby’s blood. These antibodies remain in the mother’s body and may affect the next baby. If you are Rh negative, you will be given an injection of Rhogam at about 28 weeks of pregnancy, and within 72 hours after a birth, miscarriage, abortion or amniocentesis. The Rhogam will prevent your body from making these harmful antibodies. You do not need an injection after delivery if the baby is Rh negative.
Gum disease can worsen during pregnancy therefore it is important to take very good care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy. A severe periodontitis infection can even lead to premature delivery.
Toxoplasmosis is another condition caused by a parasite found in cat feces, plant soil, and undercooked meat. The parasite can cause brain damage in a developing baby if the mother becomes infected during pregnancy. It is always wise to take necessary precautions during 9th month pregnancy in order to prevent these infections. Ask someone else to change the litter or wear gloves while gardening.
10. Watch for Intrauterine Growth Retardation
One of the precautions during 9th month pregnancy is watching out for Intrauterine Growth Retardation. Causes of intrauterine growth retardation include placenta abnormalities, high blood pressure in the mother, infections smoking or alcohol abuse. With this condition, a baby is born weighing less than 90 percent of other babies at the same gestational age. Ultrasounds during pregnancy help monitor a baby’s weight. Depending on the results, the baby may need to be delivered early. In most severe cases, IUGR can lead to stillbirth.
Immediately report any fluid leakage, bleeding or spotting through vagina, decrease in the movement of the baby or if you experience excruciating pain. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
The more we educate ourselves regarding the precautions during 9th month pregnancy, better are the chances that the delivery will be safe and a healthy baby will be born.