HEALTH MATTERS: ENSURING HEALTHY PREGNANCIES

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By WVUA 23 Web Writer Chandler Gory

Dr. Cathy Skinner, a family physician obstetricians at the University Medical Center, said there are several steps a woman can take to recuperate and regain health after giving birth.

During a pregnancy, a woman loses key vitamins that have to be replenished, Skinner said. Iron and folic acid are among these vitamins, and women can take multi-vitamins to replace them in the weeks after giving birth, as well as the weeks before.

“There are a lot of vitamins that are (depleted),” Skinner said. “Iron is one that comes to mind and we think of often. But there are some other vitamins and minerals that are also depleted, so being on a multivitamin after delivery, and certainly before pregnancy, helps improve the outcome for the next pregnancy.”

Additionally, Skinner said women should wait at least two years between pregnancies. This waiting period gives a woman’s body the time to recover.

“The optimal spacing between pregnancies is about 24 months from the birth of one child to the beginning of the pregnancy of the following child,” Skinner said.

Couples should use contraceptives during this waiting period to ensure that women receive the full two years. It will lower possible complications in the next pregnancy.

Women have many options available to them when trying to improve their health post and pre-pregnancy. However, Skinner said the father should also engage in healthy habits to support a healthy pregnancy.

Fathers can “be an active participant (and) support the mom emotionally and, at times, physically,” Skinner said. Additionally the father can “encourage good eating habits, exercise on a daily basis, encourage the mom to quit habits that could be detrimental to the pregnancy, and the best way to do that is for the dad to quit those habits too.”

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