Start4Life have teamed up with KidAroudn to offer 3 lucky winners a copy of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ on DVD.
WHAT IS START4LIFE?
Start4Life is an initiative from the Department of Health to help every baby to have a healthier start in life. With so much information and advice around, it can be difficult for parents-to-be to know what to do for the best, so the Start4Life team of medical experts, midwives and health visitors has pulled together the essential information to help new parents focus on the most important things they can do to improve their health and to get their baby off to the best start.
DID YOU KNOW…?
- In England during 2010/11, 13.5% of mothers smoked throughout their pregnancy
- In 2007, a national study showed that 41% of pregnant women were overweight or obese in England.
- According to the Infant Feeding Survey 2005,54% of mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy with 8% of mothers exceeded the recommended guidelines and drinking more than two units per week on average.
For more information search Start4Life online or go to www.nhs.uk/start4life
DR DAWN HARPER’S TOP TIPS FOR MUMS-TO-BE
1/ Eat for you not for two
The only time during your pregnancy that you need to eat slightly more is during the final 3 months when you may need an extra 200 calories a day, which is only equivalent to 2 slices of toast with margarine. So if your mum tells you to eat for two – tell her it’s wrong, you need to eat for you!
Planning what meals and snacks you eat will also help you save money and eat healthier.
- Try to write a shopping list for the meals you need that week, so that you have everything you need to make a quick, yummy meal.
- Don’t forget to see if you qualify for healthy start vouchers which give you money off milk, veg and even get free vitamins, by asking your doctor or visiting http://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
2/ Keep active!
Walking is one of the best ways to manage your weight and get fit. It’s free, you don’t need any fancy trainers or lycra outfits. Build to 30 minutes of walking a day. And when your baby arrives, you can carry on walking with your new bundle of joy in a buggy.
For you exercise can:
- Give you more energy, help you sleep better, and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression
- Make you stronger, so you can carry the weight of your growing baby
- Prepare your body for the physical challenge of labour, and can make labour quicker and reduces the risk of complications.
- Make it easier to get back to your normal weight after your baby is born
For your baby it can:
- Prevent ‘gestational diabetes’, which makes your baby grow too big during pregnancy, which can lead to delivery complications and low blood sugar
- Prevent high blood pressure, which can result in a stillbirth
3/ Avoid Alcohol
No alcohol is best for your baby, so when you’re pregnant it’s important to try and cut it out. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on going out with your friends, try swapping alcohol for sugar-free soft drinks, mocktails or fruit juice. And to unwind try some of the following:
- Go for a walk
- Read a magazine or book
- Watch a DVD
- Get a massage from your partner
- Have a bath
- Listen to music
If you do choose to have a drink while pregnant, have no more than 1-2 units, which is like a small glass of wine, once or twice a week. And don’t get drunk.
4/ Be Smokefree
There are specialty stop smoking services that are brilliant at helping pregnant women quit – in fact nearly half of pregnant women who joined and set a quit date stopped smoking. They are there to help, not judge, and they can help figure out the best tactics to help you. Just ask your doctor or midwife to find out where your nearest stop smoking service is or you can find stop smoking services on NHS Choices.
If you prefer to stop smoking by yourself, why not make your own action plan:
- Choose a day – this is the day you stop completely
- The day before – get everything ready (have your solutions lined up or when you encounter difficult situations, and know which habits you need to change that are associated with smoking) review your plan and get rid of your cigarettes
- Get support – ask friends and family for their understanding and support while you quit smoking during your pregnancy
- Take one day at a time & reward your successes
5/ Get your nutrients!
The need to get your 5 A Day couldn’t be more crucial now! Fruit and veg have lots of important nutrients in them, which help your baby’s brain and vital organs develop properly. It’s not just fresh that counts either; tinned, frozen, dried or juiced all count too.
Vitamin D and folic acid are also important for the growth of your baby’s bone and brain development. You might qualify for healthy start vouchers to receive free supplements, look at: http://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/ or ask your GP/midwife about supplements – folic acid can be free with a prescription.
1/ I must eat for two!
This is often quoted by pregnant mums and their support system. But over the years with new research, it’s been proven that this is not the case and it is only in the final three months of pregnancy that mums-to-be may need an extra 200 calories a day.
Eating healthily during pregnancy can also help the baby after it’s born, reducing their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
2/ Exercise is bad for my baby
Research proves that being active when pregnant is important and not being active can in fact be harmful for both the mum and the baby. Being active doesn’t mean digging out the jogger bottoms – it just means getting 30 minutes of walking in each day – it doesn’t even need to be in one go!
3/ A glass or two of wine won’t hurt, I need to relax!
Every day the baby’s vital organs and brain are forming, even a little bit of alcohol can hurt the baby’s ability to do this properly. It increases the risk of having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby, and can cause birth defects like facial deformities. It can also cause difficulties with learning and emotional development, and stunts the baby’s ability to grow, even after it is born.
4/ If I carry on smoking I will have a smaller baby and an easier birth
Whilst it is true the baby will be smaller because it has been starved of oxygen and hasn’t grown and developed as much as it should, the birth will not be any easier. Not to mention the other risks such as increased likelihood stillbirth, cot death and lung problems.
5/ Quitting smoking will make me stressed which is bad for the baby
Research shows that this is unlikely and that the impact of carrying on smoking is much worse.
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Posted by Clare Kersey