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Health Tips for July 26

Posted Jul 25 2009 11:17pm

Health Tip: How New Dads Can Prepare for Birth

Sure, expecting women have to carry most of the responsibility when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. But that doesn't mean there's nothing for dads-to-be to do.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers this list of possible activities for new fathers:

  • Discuss with the mother whether you want to be the one to cut the umbilical cord after birth.
  • Help your partner figure out her choice for pain relief during labor. Be supportive of her decision, and understand that she may change her mind during labor.
  • Decide if you're going to stay at the hospital with your partner. Take care of assigning someone to watch the house, pets, other children, etc.
  • Determine how you and the mother are getting to the hospital. If you're driving, map out your route, and have a backup route, just in case.
  • Make sure the car is in good shape and filled with gas as you approach the due date.
  • Make sure your partner can reach you at all times, so you're prepared when labor begins.

Health Tip: Help Prevent Birth Defects

While the cause of many birth defects remains a mystery, doctors do understand what causes many others -- and how to prevent them.

The Minnesota Department of Health says before and during pregnancy, you should:

  • Eat foods with a high folate content, or foods enriched with folic acid. A folic acid deficiency can lead to a type of birth defect called a neural tube defect. To prevent this, good dietary choices are green leafy veggies, dried beans, oranges and orange juice, and fortified breads, pastas and cereals.
  • Before pregnancy and while you're pregnant, take a daily multivitamin that includes at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
  • See your doctor for a checkup before you are pregnant, and get regular pre-natal care throughout your pregnancy.
  • Stop drinking alcohol while you're trying to conceive, and never drink alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Make sure the medicines you take are safe during pregnancy. Check with your doctor.
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