Caring for a child should begin even before pregnancy. Most women report to the gynecologist about the sixth-eighth week of pregnancy, then it is too late for many preventive measures.
Women who are likely to be pregnant (and this applies to virtually all women in the reproductive period) should avoid risky behavior in the second half of the cycle. These include, in particular, studies or therapy with the use of X-rays, contact with drugs and substances with a damaging effect on the fetus, exposure to viral infections (rubella, cytomegaly). Women should also avoid strenuous efforts, lifting heavy weights, a long stay in the sauna or solarium. Proper management, sometimes in such simple matters as diet, provides the child with better conditions for development, increasing the chance of a normal course of pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child.
What can be done?
In highly developed countries, including Poland, the number of spontaneous abortions, premature births and the number of infants with birth defects that impair or prevent independent living is increasing. It is estimated that about 1.5% of children in Poland are born with congenital, single or complex defects. The most common are the defects of the nervous system (m.in. spina bifida).
At the heart of genetic diseases lie various teratogenic factors, acting on the fetus at different stages of its development. It is assumed that about 10% of all birth defects in humans are caused by environmental factors, 10% are due to genetic defects, and the remaining 80% are due to the interaction of these factors.
Thus, we have little effect on the prevention of birth defects. Environmental factors that can be addressed to some extent include vitamin and mineral deficiencies, medicines, viral infections, alcohol, cigarettes and X-rays.
Proper nutrition should be taken care of before conception. Obesity contributes to the complications of pregnancy, it is also a factor facilitating the occurrence of so-called gestational diabetes. In turn, underweight is associated with the risk of giving birth to a child with low birth weight, which is not without its impact on its further development. Therefore, before you get pregnant, you should take care of the correct body weight. When planning a pregnancy, it is good to introduce healthy eating habits.
Folic acid plays a special role during pregnancy. Folic acid belongs to the group of B vitamins, it is involved in many important metabolic processes for the human body, such as the synthesis of DNA and amino acids necessary in the process of myelination of nerve fibers. Deficiency of folic acid, as well as vitamin B12, impairs the production of myelin, which can cause disturbances in the process of closing the nerve vessel. These disorders consist in the incorrect formation of the spine and skull of the embryo as a shield for the spinal cord and brain, as a result of which the nerve tissue remains exposed either along the entire length of the embryo or in a small area.
Microelements: calcium, iodine, zinc
As with vitamins, in the case of microelements, a balanced diet should provide the future mother with a sufficient amount of them. Calcium deficiency can be manifested by muscle cramps and lead to premature birth.
The use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes has a devastating effect on the developing child. They impair the function of the placenta and thus limit the blood supply to the baby. Drugs can cause developmental disorders, are the cause of premature birth and low birth weight. After birth, children of drug-using mothers have respiratory disorders, convulsions, withdrawal syndrome.
During pregnancy, it is recommended to limit the use of coffee, Coca-Cola and strong tea. Caffeine enters the baby’s circulatory system, and its excess can cause miscarriages and heart problems in the newborn, and even convulsions.