At least three quarters of South African pregnancies are unplanned, contributing significantly to high risks during early pregnancy, according to research.
The Foundation of Alcohol Research found in a study that 78 percent of SA pregnancies are unplanned, leading to many mothers drinking well into their first or second trimester and posing significant health risks.
And, although South African statistics are not available, an Ethiopian study shows that an average 53% of pregnant women surveyed had a “poor awareness of danger signs of pregnancy”.
In a move to contribute to a positive pregnancy experience and to help reduce fatalities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued recommendations on antenatal visits, diet, exercise, vaccinations, ultrasounds and others.
Among the recommendations is daily iron and folic acid supplementation to counter anaemia and other health hazards to both mother and child. Nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao, says pregnant women are most at risk of iron deficiency and anaemia. Studies show that iron deficiency during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of the baby being born with a low birth weight and even autism.
Ascencao says iron absorption from conventional tablets is extremely low and often results in unpleasant side effects, including constipation and nausea. She recommends 100% natural mineral water, Spatone, sourced from ancient springs in Wales and shown to have a significantly higher absorption rate than conventional iron tablets and substantially fewer side effects.
Ascencao shares the following tips for pregnant moms:
- Ensure all necessary tests, including HIV, are done early in pregnancy. Inform your practitioner of any health conditions and ask about risky illnesses.
- Attend antenatal classes and seek support from other pregnant mothers.
- Follow a healthy balanced diet including increased intake of fruit, vegetables, protein and water. Avoid sugary, spicy, oily or processed foods. Avoid raw fish, rare and cured meat, soft cheese and raw or soft egg yolk to protect against parasites or bacteria.
- Iron supplements such as Spatone and a good multi-vitamin are essential.
- Exercise. Evidence shows that active women are less likely to experience problems during pregnancy.
- Get additional rest and sleep.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking or any drugs not prescribed by your healthcare professional.
- Try BetterYou DLux Vitamin D Oral Spray — proven to be more effective than pills – provides complete nutritional support with six essential nutrients, including folic acid, K1 and B vitamins. (Available nationally at leading health stores, pharmacies and Dis-Chem, and safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding)
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_