Staying healthy during pregnancy 215
Staying healthy during pregnancy
If you can take good care of yourself while pregnant, you are more likely to have a
safe pregnancy and birth, and a healthy baby. Try to:
• Sleep and rest whenever you can.
• Go for prenatal (before-birth) checkups.
• If you have never had a tetanus immunization, get one as soon as you can. Get at
least 2 before the end of your pregnancy.
• Keep clean. Bathe or wash regularly and clean your teeth every day.
• Practice squeezing exercises, if you can, so the muscles in your vagina will be
stronger. This will help them recover more quickly after the birth (see page 101).
• Drink at least 8 glasses of water or juice each day and pass urine frequently to
prevent bladder and kidney infection.
• Exercise daily.
• Get treatment if you think you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or
• Avoid taking modern or plant medicines, unless a health worker who knows you
are pregnant says it is OK.
• Do not drink alcohol, smoke, or chew tobacco. They are bad for you and will
harm the baby.
• Avoid pesticides, herbicides, or factory chemicals.
• Stay away from a child with a rash all over its body. The rash may be caused by
German measles (rubella), which can harm the baby.
• If you use a bowel program to pass stool, do it regularly (see page 107).
Eat a variety of foods
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to eat more than usual. The extra
food will give you enough energy and strength, and will help your baby grow.
As much as possible, try to eat different kinds of food: main foods (carbohydrates),
grow foods (proteins), glow foods (vitamins and minerals), and go foods (fats, oils,
and sugar), along with plenty of fluids. (For more information about eating well,
see page 86.)
Prevent anemia (weak blood)
It is especially important for you to get enough food with iron so your blood will be
strong. If a pregnant woman has anemia and she bleeds heavily during childbirth
(hemorrhage), she is more likely to become seriously ill or even die. For more
information about anemia, see pages 87 to 88.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007