The process of pregnancy and birth is one of the most life altering experiences for a woman. Pregnancy Awareness Week takes place annually between the 12 -16 February and is commemorated to promote and educate women globally and in South Africa about pregnancy and enhance healthy pregnancies as well as the delivery of healthy babies.
With the medicalised model of birth that dominates the healthcare industry today, this milestone in a woman’s life is often overlooked. This is why Life Healthcare believes in the importance of ensuring the safe delivery of a child while remaining respectful of the powerful emotional and physical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.
“During pregnancy the body of a woman undergoes many changes that can be overwhelming. This is why it is important for women who discover they are pregnant to start attending antenatal classes as soon as possible and to manage any existing medical conditions that may affect the pregnancy with their healthcare provider,” explains Marié van Heerden, manager of Life Healthcare’s Genesis Maternity Clinic.
Nutrition is critically important for an expectant mother and it is estimated that approximately 300 extra calories are needed daily to maintain a healthy pregnancy2. “Calories consumed during pregnancy should be done through a healthy, balanced diet and a mixture of prescribed prenatal vitamins. A balanced diet during pregnancy can also assist in alleviating pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. It is recommended that expectant mothers include a variety of proteins, vegetables, and grains in their diets,” explains van Heerden.
With the advances in medicine, most pregnancies can be monitored to avoid miscarriage or birth defects however, it is important for expectant mothers to listen to their bodies to avoid the risk of developing complications that can be life threatening to both the mother and the baby. This is why Life Healthcare places great importance on appointing a qualified and skilled healthcare practitioner to assist and monitor development during pregnancy.
With the correct medical assistance from a certified healthcare provider and a stable support system pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life. “Making well informed decisions and following medical advice given to you by your doctor will mitigate risks associated with childbirth and ensure that welcome your bundle into the world is a joyous occasion,” concludes Hatting.