Pregnancy on a daily basis

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Bd de la Cluse 30
1205 Genève
Switzerland

Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
Professor
Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
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Pregnancy is not an illness. However, certain adjustments are required to make it as easy and comfortable as possible

Physical activity

We recommend you continue to exercise regularly. Favour soft sports (swimming or walking for example) and avoid violent sports or those involving a risk of falling. Seek advice from your doctor or midwife.

Healthy diet

Energy requirements are slightly higher during pregnancy. The idea is not to eat twice as much but twice as well, for both you and your baby to be healthy. However, your intake of vitamins and mineral
salts must be increased.

All these needs are covered by a varied and balanced diet.

  • Give prominence to fruit and vegetables (the “five a day” rule).
  • Favour food rich in iron: meat, eggs, whole grain food, pulses (chick peas, lentils, dry beans), nuts and certain vegetables (spinach, broccoli).
  • Favour food rich in iodine (fish, eggs, cheese, dried fruits, food containing iodized salt) and omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish, walnuts, rapeseed oil) that help your baby grow.
  • Drink enough (1.5 to 2l a day), preferably water or non-sweet or low-sweet beverages.
  • Consume caffeine-based beverages (coffee, tea, sodas, etc.) with moderation.

If the pregnant woman is overweight, her weight increase must be monitored closely. Ask for an appointment at the Maternity Weight Control ward for personalized and multidisciplinary monitoring (+41 (0)22 372 97 16).

CAUTION
Taking nutritional supplements should not be automatic but should be discussed with your doctor or midwife. Special preparations for pregnant women exist. 

Prevention of food safety hazards

Follow a few safety precautions to protect yourself against food poisoning and diseases potentially deadly for your baby (toxoplasmosis, listeriosis).

When you eat outside from home, make sure salads, fruits and raw vegetables have been properly washed. If you have any doubts, don’t eat them. Furthermore, avoid pre-cooked food as much as
possible. Don’t reheat food more than once.

Food to avoid

  • Raw or non-pasteurized milk and food containing raw or non-pasteurized milk.
  • Soft and non-pasteurized cheese; feta cheese and blueveined cheeses (e.g., Gorgonzola).
  • Raw eggs and preparations containing raw eggs (tiramisu, home-made mayonnaise).
  • Raw or under-cooked meat and fish (carpaccio, tartar).
  • Badly washed raw vegetables.
  • Game.
  • Energy drinks.
  • Quinine-based beverages (tonic, bitter lemon).
  • Alcohol.

Protect your skin

When pregnant, your skin is more sensitive to the sun. Apply highindex sun cream, especially on your face, to avoid the appearance of blemishes or a “pregnancy mask”. Shade, sun glasses and hats
are paramount.

Take care of your teeth

Brush your teeth with care. Your gums are more sensitive and may bleed. Do not hesitate to consult your dentist if you have any concerns. Treatment is possible during pregnancy. 

Travelling on a daily basis

Walking is good for you and your baby. When riding a bicycle or a scooter, we recommend wearing a helmet. In the car, always wear your seatbelt. Ensure the lap belt is placed under your stomach.

You want to travel ?

  • Seek advice from your gynaecologist or midwife.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit containing medication compatible with pregnancy.
  • Find out about sanitary conditions and access to medical care at your destination.
  • Make sure your insurance covers all pregnancy-related problems abroad.
  • Do not travel alone.

Travelling when pregnant

Being pregnant and travelling is possible if you take all the necessary precautions. Before you plan a trip, speak to your gynaecologist or midwife so as to exclude any contraindication and discuss preventive measures (wearing compression stockings, hydration, etc.). After seven months of pregnancy, long distance travelling is not recommended. Furthermore, the baby’s weight can make walking difficult.

Long-haul destinations

Pregnancy is probably not the best time to go around the world or to distant places. Health and safety conditions are not always appropriate abroad. What’s more, some mandatory vaccination and
treatments are contraindicated during pregnancy.

Flying

Certain airlines sometimes ask for a medical certificate stating the stage of pregnancy as well as the absence of contraindications to fly. To avoid the risk of thrombosis (blood clot), don’t forget to drink
regularly, walk and wear compression stockings if required. When flying more than two hours, book an aisle seat so you can wander round freely during the flight.

Some customs authorities refuse to let pregnant women on-board when they are at the end of their pregnancy. Check before booking your flights.

CAUTION
Avoid high mountains (altitudes over 2,000-2,500 meters) and significant differences in height especially if you have a risk factor (asthma, heart failure, high blood pressure). 

FIND OUT MORE
Understanding my pregnancy, [in French] by Elodie Lavigne and the Pr Olivier Irion (Planète Santé Editions, 2016) guides pregnant women by explaining to them what happens in their bodies and minds during these nine months. 

Last update : 11/04/2019