Women who want to get pregnant are advised to take folic acid until they are 10 weeks pregnant. This significantly reduces the chance of having a baby with spina bifida or open skull. Daily 1 tablet of 0.5 mg is sufficient. The folic acid tablets are available without a prescription at the pharmacy. When you take a vitamin supplement for pregnant women, there is often folate.
If you get past the 10th week of pregnancy, you can stop taking the folic acid tablets and you can start using pregnancy vitamins if you haven’t started yet. Folic acid helps the absorption of iron from your food, you can not get too much folic acid because even at the maximum of 1000 micrograms per day, there is no risk of too much folic acid.
During pregnancy it is important to eat fresh, healthy and varied. Eating for two is really not necessary. During pregnancy, you should gain about 12 to 15 kilos. These kilos will be lost generally pretty easy after pregnancy. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Potatoes, rice, bread and pasta provide energy. Milk, cheese, eggs, meat and fish provide calcium and meet the protein needs of the growing child and mother herself. The pregnancy hormones will change the structure of your stomach and intestinal lining. As a result, the flow of food is slowed down by the gastro-intestinal tract. This means that your food stays longer in your stomach and it can be as “a brick in your stomach.”
Often it helps to adjust your diet a bit. Instead of consuming three large meals a day, it can be more comfortable to take five or seven smaller meals. This way you ensure that your stomach is not empty (helps against heartburn and nausea) and your meal will be better digested. Also prevents the so-called “sugar-dips”, a low blood sugar that makes you very tired. By taking regular healthy snacks (with as little sugar as possible), you will feel a lot more energetic! Try – in addition to coffee, tea and other drinks- about daily intake of 2 to 3 liters of water.
What can’t you eat?
- Raw meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables can hold a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis infection. Itself you experience the effects of the infection as a kind of flu, but if you get toxoplasmosis right before or during your pregnancy, your child can also get the infection through the placenta. Cook meat well done and wash carefully all fruits and vegetables in plenty of water.
- Soft cheeses such as brie and camembert, which are made from raw milk may contain listeria bacteria. This is a gut bacterium that can be very harmful to unborn babies. Cheeses that are not pasteurized should be left aside from your diet (On the label of these cheeses should be printed “au lait cru” or it says “contains raw milk”).
- Liver contains a lot of vitamin A and an excess of vitamin A is not good. Therefore don’t eat too much liver during pregnancy and don’t consume liver products no more than 2 to 3 times a week.
Basic Food List
2-3 slices of brown bread with margarine and spreads
glass of milk
During the morning snack
3-4 slices of brown bread with margarine and spreads
glass of milk
a snack during the afternoon
3 tablespoons of rice, potatoes or pasta
4 tablespoons of vegetable
1 piece of meat / fish (75 grams fried) min. 5x week, or meat substitute
1 bowl of custard or yoghurt
If one-pan dish: 5 serving
snack during the evening
- Through the day
2 servings of fruit per day
no margarine or light butter
Do not always choose low-fat toppings products
at least 2 liters of water
We do not know everything about pregnancy and smoking effects, but one thing is certain: if you smoke, the placenta gets fed less blood. Your unborn baby gets less oxygen and that slows growth and increases the risk of abnormalities. At birth baby weights are about on average 200 grams less, the more the mother smokes, the lower the birth weight. This makes the child more vulnerable: the mortality rate is higher, the risk of bleeding in the placenta also increases.
Not just growth, but also the mental development of a child may be affected by smoking.
After the birth, it is unwise to smoke where the baby is. Doing so increases the risk of SIDS. The only option if you take your responsibility for your child seriously is to quit smoking. That is no easy task. But if your (smoking) partner also quit smoking, it is perhaps less difficult. Unfortunately you can’t use nicotine substitutes, as a support to quit smoking, during pregnancy.
Using alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful for the unborn child. A very sensitive period is set in the first two months of pregnancy. The child may be harmed by the drinking habits from his mother. Research shows that the more alcoholic beverages you drink each day, the more severe the effects are. These studies do not go forward, what the exact effect of sporadic alcohol consumption during pregnancy are. The Health advises to women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, is not to drink alcoholic beverages.
Many drugs aren’t fully researched what damage can be to the (unborn) child with the use in fertilization, pregnancy and / or breastfeeding. To prevent any harm to the unborn child exclude drugs as much as possible, it’s not recommended to use any drugs if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Be always open and honest about it, so that we can assess whether extra care in pregnancy is needed.
Soft drugs (cannabis / marijuana / cannabis and hashish) may be a health risk for pregnancy and the baby, because the active ingredient THC can get through the placenta in the baby. It is known that the use of soft drugs with other substances, such as alcohol, strengthen the harmfull effects. Some studies show that babies born to mothers who have used soft drugs during pregnancy have lower birth weight. After birth, it appears that some children scored worse on cognitive tests and have more problems with concentration.
Hard drugs are a big risk to your unborn child. Cocaine, ecstasy (ecstasy) and heroin are very dangerous. Depending on the type of drug your child can get a birth defect or developmental disorder. With some drugs the baby will already be addicted and will have withdrawal symptoms after birth, additional monitoring in the womb is necessary. Mushrooms and herbal drugs are still insufficiently researched. Pregnant women who regularly use hard drugs aren’t recommended simply to stop taking the drugs. The baby may have withdrawal symptoms in the uterus and this can be very dangerous. Therefore, stop or reduce the drug intake always under the supervision of a specialist. We will always consult the gynaecologist to ensure proper supervision of pregnancy.
More information available at Drugsinfo.nl
When using medications, consult your GP or specialist that you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant. Some substances have been known to affect the development of your child during pregnancy.
When you are experiencing pain or fever you can take without danger acetaminophen (without caffeine and codeine), a maximum of 6 tablets per day (consult your GP). If the dentist will administer a local anaesthetic during treatment there should be no harm during pregnancy. however Inform him / her about your pregnancy, he / she will use an anaesthetic without adrenaline.
It is good to exercise for at least half an hour a day if you are pregnant. If you already used to exercising before pregnancy, you can just keep exercising. But keep it safe: listen to your body and keep your supervisor informed if you have one. When you experience symptoms while exercising, slow down or stop completely. Sports where you risk to get something against your belly, or sports where you can easily contact with other people or you fall, are less advisable. Some examples: hockey, volleyball, skiing & soccer. SCUBA diving is not recommended because of the compressed air mixture.
For work the same advice applies in pregnancy as for many other activities: Listen to your body and do not go over your limits. If you can not perform your job as before pregnancy, talk to your employer and if necessary the occupational health / occupational health service. For more information about laws and regulations concerning pregnancy you can visit the government website.
During pregnancy it is important to eat healthy and varied. “Eating for two” is not necessary, but dieting during pregnancy is not recommended. Varied food and not too many sweets during pregnancy is important.