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Lifestyle

0-8 weeks

Nutrition, vitamins & gaining weight

It is important to eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids. You do not need to consume extra food, but do not diet during pregnancy. The nausea/vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy can cause you to lose a few kilos, but that is nothing to worry about. Women will gain an average of 12 - 15 kg during their pregnancy; some may gain more, some less.
For more information about healthy nutrition and pregnancy, please visit www.voedingscentrum.nl. They have also developed a handy and free app that will tell you which foods are suitable during the pregnancy and which are not. If you have particular dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, see here for more information. Because of the pregnancy hormones your digestive system will be less effective which may cause constipation. It is important to have a high fibre diet (wholemeal products, green vegetables and fruit) and lots of liquids. When you have decided you want to get pregnant, we recommend that you start taking folic acid until at least 10 weeks into the pregnancy (400 mg). We also advise you to take Vitamin D supplements daily during the whole pregnancy (and breastfeeding). Both vitamins are available from your chemist. If you have a healthy and varied diet, taking multivitamins is not necessary. But if you DO want to take them, make sure they are suitable for pregnancy.  Keep track of your calcium intake during the pregnancy. According to the Voedingscentrum, your calcium intake will be sufficient if you consume the recommended quantities of 300-450 ml dairy products (2-3 portions) and 40 gr of cheese every day. Do you not eat enough of these items? Talk to your midwife about this. Fatty acids in fish are important for the development of the unborn baby’s brains and vision. Eat fish 1x a week, preferably fatty fish such as sardines and salmon. Certain kinds of fish should be avoided. (Source: Voedingscentrum, Voedingscentrum facts).

Exercise

Exercise during pregnancy is beneficial. It can prevent many issues but you need to listen to your body carefully.  If you exercised on a regular basis before, you can continue to do so but be safe. Avoid overstretching your abdominal muscles. It is a good idea to tell your fitness coach or trainer that you are pregnant. Don’t overdo it. It is also important to drink plenty of water during exercising. If exercising is causing complaints or making you very tired, choose a less strenuous form of exercise or simply stop. Swimming or cycling are good alternatives for getting the necessary exercise. If you have only just begun exercising, make sure you do this under guidance. During the early stages of pregnancy you may not feel much like exercising because of nausea and fatigue. Don’t worry about this; you can always exercise again when you feel better. When you are pregnant it is advisable to carry out your activities at a slower pace. This means that during a workout you should still be able to speak. If you are unable to speak then you are overloading yourself. Continue the exercise at a lower impact. Contact sports and diving are NOT recommended during pregnancy. Please also take care if you are planning climbing activities.  

Travelling

It is of course wonderful to still enjoy a holiday during your pregnancy. This is not a problem. But if you are planning to travel to a far away destination it would be a good idea to discuss this with the GGD. Will you need vaccinations or does the destination country have special rules? Always declare that you are pregnant.

You are allowed to fly until 34 weeks. You will need a maternity certificate. You can request this from our assistant. This way you can inform the airline company how far along in the pregnancy you are. Bring a copy of your pregnancy records and your midwife contact details with you on holiday.

Drink plenty of fluids and get a little exercise on long flights by walking up and down the aisle a few times.

Is your destination somewhere sunny? Use Factor 50 sun protection. Pregnancy hormones can cause a pregnancy mask, also known as Melasma.

Infections

During your pregnancy you should take extra care with certain infections and illnesses.

Please read the information on the RIVM website carefully. Some advice is not widely known, such as advice regarding CMV. It is important that you are aware of this.

You also need to be aware that a bladder infection is likely during pregnancy. Symptoms during pregnancy may be different from other times. For example you are urinating small amounts or a lot more often than normal, then you may have a bladder infection. If you have a bladder infection during pregnancy, urinating is not always painful. Sometimes you simply don’t feel very well and have a slight temperature. Or you are experiencing a hard belly on a regular basis or a nagging sensation in your lower abdomen. If in doubt, have your urine checked by your doctor. It is important to treat a bladder infection during pregnancy with antibiotics.

A vaginal fungus infection is also more likely during pregnancy. Usual symptoms are itching and/or swollen labia. The discharge is then somewhat grainy and may smell different. This should be treated by your doctor also. Over the counter treatment is available from most chemists.  

Alcohol, smoking and drugs

Do not drink alcohol when you are pregnant, as this is bad for your baby. Even the occasional glass can be harmful. The alcohol affects the formation of organs; sometimes it restricts the growth of the baby or causes a premature birth. It can also cause your child to develop learning difficulties and have trouble with concentration.

More information can be found here

Smoking is bad for your baby as the toxins from the cigarette in your blood will reach the blood of your baby. This will limit the nutrients and oxygen needed for your baby’s development.  It may also cause other (for the baby life-threatening) complications in pregnancy. Also cot deaths are more common if pregnant women smoke, or if smoking takes place near the baby. Even passive smoking is unhealthy. Ask smokers near you to go outside.

More information can be found on the Trimbos website. Always tell us if you are a smoker, we can then see if there is anything we can do to help you quit or perform additional checks during your pregnancy.

Never use drugs during pregnancy. The use of drugs (even marijuana) is very dangerous for your child. Please tell us if you use drugs, we can then see if there is anything we can do to help you quit. It is very important that you tell us if you use drugs, we will then perform additional checks during your pregnancy. In case of hard drugs, the baby should be weaned off after birth.

Medication and Dentist

If you are pregnant and use medication, talk with your doctor or chemist about whether you can continue to use these. Tell your doctor or chemist that you are pregnant; they can then recommend which drugs are most appropriate.

Paracetamol can be taken during pregnancy. But do not increase the dose as stated in the patient information leaflet. Which means no more than 6 tablets (500 mg each) every 24 hours. Aspirin and ibuprofen cannot be used during pregnancy.

It is very important to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy. Visits to the dentist are allowed during pregnancy; just tell the dentist that you are pregnant. Local anaesthetics are not harmful either. Dentists don’t usually take x-rays during pregnancy unless there is no other option.

Work

Check the header pregnant and work, to learn more about your rights as an employee. 

Stress

When you are pregnant you can worry a lot about the health of your baby, the birth and the physical changes. These worries can cause stress. During the pregnancy you can feel stressed more quickly than usual. You can experience less control, cry quicker or have less patience with yourself or others. It is important that you find ways to relax, avoid stress and ask for help when you need it.

Find activities which help you relax; try to get plenty rest/sleep. Make time for people with whom you feel comfortable and try to do something enjoyable every day. 

Tell us if you believe you are experiencing more stress than expected. Please remember that stress if part of life and cannot be avoided completely.  With long term stress, such as an unpleasant situation at work, consider how this can be resolved.

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