An unplanned pregnancy what to expect gas tracker

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Yes, you absolutely can have a healthy baby — now that you’re in the know about that surprise package. And if you think you’re the only one who’s had an “oops!” moment, think again. National statistics show that unplanned pregnancies account for about 45 percent of all pregnancies (that’s nearly half!). Happily, the vast majority of the babies born as a result of these unplanned pregnancies turn out to be healthy and no worse for the wear. But now that you’re in the loop about your soon-to-be-bulging belly, it’s time to start getting serious about your health and prenatal care. Doing so will give you as good a chance as anyone to have a healthy baby. Here’s how:

Stop smoking. You may have been lighting up before that pregnancy test came back positive, but now that you know you’ve got a baby growing inside, it’s time to kick butt. While you shouldn’t get too worried about the smoking you did before you found out you were pregnant, you definitely want to avoid puffing on those cigarettes starting now. That’s because women who smoke during pregnancy up their risk for pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery and having a low-birth-weight baby (which increases the chances of health problems for the baby). Even an occasional cigarette is too much smoke exposure for your fetus. The same goes for e-cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes generally have fewer harmful substances than regular cigarettes, they’re still dangerous, as nicotine can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. If you’re addicted to lighting up, investigate ways to kick the habit.

The good news: If you stop smoking early in your pregnancy, you may be able to radically reduce the risk of harm to your baby. A study published in 2009 found that when women quit smoking before their 15th week of pregnancy, they were no more likely to have a premature or low-birth-weight baby than nonsmoking women. So get help nixing your nicotine fix. Also, remember to stay smoke-free after your baby is born: Babies who are exposed to smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), among other health problems. Talk about incentive to put out those cigarettes for good!

Avoid alcohol. As with smoking, drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as premature birth and a range of physical, behavioral and intellectual disabilities. But before you panic, consider this: The occasional drink you may have had before you found out you were pregnant is unlikely to harm your baby. Still, because experts don’t know exactly how much alcohol it takes to affect a fetus, it’s crucial that you stop sipping alcohol now. (Don’t worry, you can go back to enjoying that glass of wine or cocktail in moderation after you give birth.)

See a practitioner. Since your pregnancy is an unplanned one, you may not have a doctor or midwife lined up to guide you through these next incredible months of pregnancy. But it’s not too late to find someone you trust. Ask friends or your primary care physician for referrals. Then, once you choose a practitioner, discuss your health history so that you can get any medical conditions managed and under control safely — and as soon as possible (for instance, if you have a thyroid condition, there are medications you can take during pregnancy). Also, ask your practitioner to screen you for sexually transmitted infections, and find out if you’re due for any vaccinations (a blood test can determine if you’re immune to certain diseases). One vaccine to put on your to-do list now that you’re a mom-to-be: the flu shot.

Eat right. Worried that you weren’t eating very nutritiously before finding out about your unplanned pregnancy? Relax — just start now. Focus on foods that are high in folic acid, calcium and good-for-you vitamins. And keep in mind that there’s no need to double your daily calorie count (you may be eating for two, but one of you is still very small!). Instead, do your best to maintain a healthy weight by increasing your calorie intake by only an average of 300 extra calories per day. Follow the pregnancy diet for guidance on what — and how much — to eat during these next months. Also, ask your practitioner to recommend a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, since this will help reduce your baby’s risk for birth defects.

Fit in fitness. Research shows that exercising during pregnancy is good for you and the baby — plus it helps keep pregnancy pounds to a minimum. Keep in mind that this isn’t the time to train for a marathon (overdoing it on exercise could be harmful during pregnancy) but it’s as good a time as ever to fit in some regular activity, about 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Walking, swimming and yoga are all good options. Working out will help improve your heart health, muscle tone and strength, while also reducing the likelihood of back trouble, constipation and complications like gestational diabetes — all of which should make your pregnancy and delivery easier and healthier!