ATLANTA - Pregnancy is an exciting, sometimes uneasy, time for women. You want to do everything right, to protect your baby.
But you may be making some common mistakes many pregnant women make.
And, Dr. Desiree McCarthy-Keith, a fertility specialist at Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta, says the most common pregnancy mistake she sees in her patients is eating for two.
"So, they use that as an excuse to either overeat or to make unhealthy choices in their diet," says Dr. McCarthy-Keith.
Most women don’t need extra calories in their first trimester, she says.
In their second and final trimester, women should only be eating 300-500 extra calories.
McCarthy-Keith says another common mistake women make is overindulging in comfort foods.
Overeating, she says, can cause weight gain, which can lead to pregnancy complications like diabetes and high blood pressure.
"So we really want women to not say, 'Well the baby wants ice cream. So I'm going to eat ice cream,” she says. “Because it can have serious complications later."
You want to go into pregnancy in the best shape possible. That's where many women get tripped up, by
not getting enough exercise.
McCarthy-Keith recommends moderate exercise like walking or running.
"But, we know that women who are active from the beginning of their pregnancies and throughout have healthier pregnancies, easier labors and they recover from their pregnancy faster.” she says.
Knowing what medication to take and what to avoid can be tricky if you're expecting.
McCarthy-Keith says it’s a mistake to stop taking your prescription medication without first consulting your physician.
"There are some medications women need to be on, for diabetes, blood pressure control , seizure medications, or those type of medications, that it may not be safe for her to just stop cold turkey,” she says.
The last mistake pregnant women make?
Not getting a flu shot.
Dr. McCarthy-Keith says the injectable vaccine is safe, and could be a lifesaver for both you and your baby because the flu virus can be very risky for pregnant women.
"We know that women who get the flu while they're pregnant can get sicker from the flu,” she says. “They're more likely to get hospitalized and have pneumonia and other severe complications from the flu."
One more reason to get vaccinated? The CDC says getting a flu shot during your pregnancy will provide your baby with antibodies for the first 6 months of life.
That is important because babies under six months are too young to be vaccinated and are at highest risk for being hospitalized because of flu complications.