Heidi Kool has her baby's heart rate checked by Dr. Jessica Rasmussen
The region-wide 'Maybe a Baby' event is just around the corner. For many future parents this event helps get their minds ready for baby but what about their bodies? Maintaining complete health while pregnant is important but it's also easier than you think.
The reality is starting to set in for Heidi Kool. She's more than halfway to becoming a mother.
"It's our first so it's been a brand-new experience, nerve-racking but it's been fun." said Kool.
Heidi and baby have hit the 28 week milestone but preparing for this journey started well before.
"It's important to be seen early and get a good thorough health history, past surgical history, and past obstetric history. Then depending on that, we can counsel on how to best optimize that pregnancy." said Dr. Jessica Rasmussen an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Avera Medical Group Pierre.
Before she even got pregnant, Heidi met with Dr. Rasmussen to make sure her body was ready for the next 40 weeks. Preparations start by supplementing with a prenatal vitamin.
"Pregnant women need more folic acid to prevent spina bifida, they need more iron to prevent iron deficiency which is common in pregnancy, and you also need more calcium in pregnancy in addition to other nutritional requirements." said Dr. Rasmussen.
Cravings will pop up but self control is still needed. Pregnant women actually only need an extra 300 calories a day so it's not entirely eating for two.
"A good balanced diet is important to make sure they are at optimal weight before they get pregnant and then getting an optimal weight during pregnancy and avoiding some of those things like alcohol, smoking, and drug use are important." said Dr. Rasmussen.
Living a healthy lifestyle wasn't a foreign concept before baby and Heidi has made sure the habit continues.
"I exercise regularly and eat right so that was an easy transition for me. The biggest thing was the amount of water I drink and stuff like that and cutting back on some of the exercises." said Kool.
"Most women can tolerate and should be active and exercising during pregnancy. Sometimes you just have to alter what you're doing." said Dr. Rasmussen.
For first timers, there's a lot of pregnancy information to digest. The baby books and opinions of others can be helpful at times but for Heidi it was the 'Avera Chart' that's been a true game-changer.
"I don't want to be that first time needy mom but I do have a lot of questions." said Kool.
Google isn't personalized so using her Avera Chart allows Heidi to get quick answers tailored to her pregnancy from the people that are delivering her care.
"Just for staying in contact with your provider and nurse and knowing that they're the ones that are most up-to-date on the information and they are the ones with the most accurate information." said Kool.
The nursery is all ready and things are getting real for her growing family. The only left for Heidi to do is just wait out these final 12 weeks.
"August 29 is the due date so my husband thinks we planned it correctly because there's no hunting season around that time!" said Kool.
Most moms start taking prenatal vitamins once they know they are pregnant. But to get the best benefit they should start taking them at least three months before. For more information about prenatal health just call 877-AT-AVERA.