68 Pregnancy and Childbir th
eating for good health
If you take good care of yourself while pregnant, you are more
likely to have a safe pregnancy and birth and a healthy baby.
• Try to eat enough nutritious foods. Good nutrition gives
strength, prevents infection, builds a healthy baby, and helps
prevent too much bleeding during birth. Remember that
you are feeding both yourself and your baby. Use iodized
salt so your baby will not suffer from mental slowness.
• Sleep and rest more. If you work
standing up, try to sit or lie down Do your
several times during the day.
...but rest whenever you can.
➤ Read about the
‘Danger signs during
on page 73, to learn
when it is important
to see a health
➤ If there is malaria
where you live, sleep
under a bed net to
avoid being bitten by
• Go for prenatal (before-birth) check-ups to make sure
there are no problems, and to find problems before
they become serious. If you have never had a tetanus
immunization, get one as soon as you can. Get at least 2
before the end of the pregnancy (see page 161).
• Keep clean. Bathe or wash regularly and clean your teeth
• Practice squeezing exercises, so your vagina will be stronger
after the birth (see page 371).
• Try to get daily exercise. If you sit down at work, try to
walk a little every day. But try not to tire yourself.
• Get treatment if you think you have a sexually transmitted
infection (STI) or other infection.
• Get tested for HIV. Prevent HIV infection during pregnancy
by using condoms when you have sexual intercourse.
• Avoid taking modern or plant medicines, unless a
health worker who knows you are pregnant says it is OK.
• Do not drink alcohol or smoke or chew tobacco during
pregnancy. They are bad for the mother and can harm the
• Avoid pesticides, herbicides, or factory chemicals. They
can harm the developing baby. Do not touch or work near
them, or breathe in their fumes. Never store food or water
in their containers.
• Stay away from a child with a rash all over its body. It may
be caused by German Measles, which can harm the baby.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012