Good Health Practices
Good Health During Pregnancy
The health of the expectant mother during pregnancy is vital to the well-being of her baby. Women who are pregnant should make sure to have a healthy diet, appropriate physical activity, and adequate rest and should take steps to manage their stress.
Tips for Good Health During Pregnancy
- Pregnant women should avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs and should take medications only under their doctor’s advice.
- Prenatal care should begin within the first two months of pregnancy. Women should see a doctor as soon as they suspect that they might be pregnant and should continue regular prenatal care throughout the pregnancy.
- High-quality, ongoing, regular prenatal care can help ensure that both mother and baby are healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Good health practices after birth begin by establishing regular routines for adequate sleep and physical activity. Sleep is important to brain development. Infants do not sleep on the same time schedules as adults or older children. Newborn babies sleep up to 16 hours per day but only for a few hours at a time. This pattern is related to feeding because babies must eat every 2 to 4 hours throughout the day and night. Although many parents want their babies to sleep through the night, this is not the baby’s usual sleep pattern for the first three months.
Regular physical activity is essential for healthy children. Being physically active for at least 60 to 90 minutes each day helps the brain strengthen connections for motor skills, balance, vision, and many other abilities. Activities such as exercise, dancing, or throwing and catching a ball help the motor areas of the brain develop stronger connections.
Beginning at birth, all young children need regular well-child check-ups with the same doctor to monitor and assure healthy overall development as well as healthy brain development. Regular check-ups also provide a chance for the doctor to:
- Ensure that children receive immunizations at recommended times to protect against diseases that can affect brain development typical limit
- Test vision regularly and correct any vision problems while the brain’s wiring for vision is still developing
- Test hearing regularly, so that children can hear clearly enough to develop the brain wiring for language
- Monitor children’s development, and make referrals for evaluation if children are not reaching developmental milestones within
The American Academy of Pediatrics website has a wide variety of additional information on good health during infancy and childhood.