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A Tiny Heart

a tiny heart
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One of the most exciting events in an expectant Mother’s diary is the date she first hears her baby’s heartbeat.  Just 7 weeks after conception, baby’s heart muscle develops and begins to pump blood around the body.  A tiny heart will beat over 2.5 billion times in it’s lifetime and will pump enough blood to fill 3 supertankers.  That’s some job!

Looking after your health in pregnancy is a necessity, it’s not just for your benefit but for that the tiny life inside you.  The healthier you are, the better chance your child has of avoiding chronic disease later on.

Having a balanced diet

Diet plays a huge role in your overall health during pregnancy, so forget about ‘eating for two’ and keep an eye on your portion sizes.  You only need an extra 200 calories or so per day which is equivalent of a couple of slices of toast, so step away from the donuts!

Did you know your baby’s sense of taste and smell can be influenced in the womb?  It’s true, so the more variety you have to your pregnancy diet, the less fussy your baby may be once he or she begins to wean later on.  Cut back on salt, sugary and fatty foods and make sure you get your 5 a day, more if possible. It probably doesn’t need pointing out but you really should avoid alcohol during your pregnancy, though a tiny glass of red wine would be much better than a vodka and coke , if you must.

a tiny heart

Exercise is important!

Lots of women find out they are pregnant and instantly hang up their trainers for the next 9 months and put their gym membership on hold.  You shouldn’t.  Provided you exercise safely, there is no reason for you to stop.  In fact, maintaining a good level of fitness by exercising throughout your pregnancy will help you manage a healthy weight gain and can even help during labour.  Lets face it, you’ll need to be fairly fit to go through that!

Pregnancy friendly exercise is everywhere so you have no excuse to slack off.  Swimming is fantastic, in the pool the water takes your weight and will ease pressure on your aching back, the only problem you might have is you won’t want to leave the pool.  Aqua aerobics and brisk walking are also very good for you.  You can even cycle provided it is comfortable to do so and you’re not trying to race down the road at lightening speed.  I don’t know about you, but I find exercise de-stresses me so you might find it clears your head too.  If you are a gym member, don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff for advice, a lot of personal trainers will be trained in this area and will know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Now this is really rather obvious but if you’re a smoker, you must stop during your pregnancy.  If you smoke, your unborn child is taking in the same chemicals, affecting his/her development and health later on in life.  In Scotland research has found that premature births have dropped by 10% since the smoking ban was brought in, in 2009.  Your Dr can advise you how best to stop but in most cases the best way is to go cold-turkey.

When you hear the clipity clop of your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, consider how much work that heart will have to do over it’s lifetime and how you can give it the best possible start from the beginning.

The information within this article was kindly provided by Chris Child at Heart Research UK.  Heart research UK (formerly National Heart research Fund) was originally founded in 1967 by David Watson, a heart surgeon.  For close to 50 years HRUK has pioneered cutting-edge research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease, the UK’s number 1 killer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Dani Lee

About Dani Lee

Dani enjoys turning her hand to writing when she gets a chance. Dani works full time and has 2 children, Sophie, 7 and Harry, 15 months and if anyone knows what it is to be a working parent, she does!

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