Your environment – and the people around you – can make you and a possible future baby healthy or unhealthy. Using these tips can make your home and work environment safer for everyone.
Stay away from toxins
Avoid exposure to toxins, hazards, and other atmospheric conditions that can negatively affect your health.
Avoid pesticides, cigarette smoke, solvents, asbestos, lead, industrial chemicals, and radioactive substances.
If you could become pregnant, are trying, or think you may be – use gloves when handling cat litter and while gardening to prevent infections. This is a great habit to get into in the event you do become pregnant in the future.
Safely handle foods
Cook meat all the way through and avoid raw, unpasteurized milk and cheeses to prevent infections. Avoid eating fish high in mercury (marlin, orange roughy, tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, big eye tuna, and ahi tuna).
Foster healthy relationships
Work with others to promote a healthy community that is free of violence while supporting your needs. Build healthy relationships with your partner, family, and friends by communicating more, spending time together, and supporting one another.
Plan for your 9-5 and beyond
Know your employee rights and find out what worksite protections for leave are in place for pregnant and parenting employees at your job. Other topics to be aware of include workplace breastfeeding laws, as well as maternity and paternity leave policies.
The more you inform yourself, the better you can fight for your rights if needed. Breastfeeding mothers have fewer missed days from work, so if your job is not mother-friendly, learn how to change it through the Texas Mother Friendly Worksite Program.
Get support when you need it
A proper support system is very important in life, in pregnancy and in parenting. As you continue to plan ahead towards a life with children, make sure to create a support system that will help you through the difficulties that lie ahead. Most important in this system is your partner.
Whether it’s delivery, breastfeeding, a shoulder to cry on or someone to balance the checkbook, your partner’s role in your success and that of the family should not be overlooked.
Do not forget to think about your support system beyond the birth of your child. For working mothers, child care is a very important need, and choices should be considered prior to childbirth to avoid unnecessary stress.
Child care selection is one of the most important choices you will make about your baby. Visit the Department of Family and Protective Services website to make an informed choice. This site shows the official record for every licensed child care provider in the state. You can search for daycare, learn about standards in Texas and look up the record of a child care provider you’re considering.
Understand violence and abuse
Healthy relationships are built on trust, respect, communication, and freedom to be yourself. Your relationship with your partner should always feel safe, secure, and free of fear. If you feel threatened by your partner or anyone else in your circle, you may be experiencing abuse.
Some examples of abusive behavior are if your partner or colleague:
- Continually monitors your activities, in person or on social media.
- Tries to stop you from going to work or seeing friends and family.
- Accuses you of being unfaithful.
- Tries to control your finances, your medications (including birth control), what you wear, or your eating habits.
- Hurts you physically or threatens to do so.
If you consider having a child, it’s extremely important that you trust your partner and believe that your partner will help you create an environment healthy for childbearing.
Nationally, homicide during the pregnancy period is blamed for more deaths than obstetric complications. The risk of death by homicide for women who are in an abusive relationship increases during the pregnancy period.
If you are experiencing violence or abuse, there are resources that can help: