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Eating well can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn. Being physically active may help you have a more comfortable 9 months and an easier delivery. Use the ideas and tips in this section to improve your eating plan and become more physically active before, during, and after your pregnancy. Make changes now, and be a healthy example for your family for a lifetime.

1. Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.

2. Eat foods rich in folate, iron, calcium, and protein, or get these nutrients through a prenatal supplement. Talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.

3. Eat breakfast every day.

4. Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

5. Avoid alcohol, raw fish, fish high in mercury, soft cheeses, and anything that is not food.

6. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Talk to your health care provider before you begin.

7. After you deliver your baby, continue eating well. Return to a healthy weight gradually. Slowly get back to your routine of regular, moderate physical activity.

8. Take pleasure in the miracles of pregnancy and birth.

What is a healthy eating plan for pregnancy? - A healthy eating plan contains a wide variety of foods from the five basic food groups.* Every day, you should try to eat:

6 or more servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta. One serving equals one slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal (about 1 cup of most cereals), or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta. If you are physically active, you can eat more servings (up to 11 servings if you are very active).

3 to 5 servings of vegetables. One serving equals 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables such as spinach or lettuce, or 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables, cooked or raw.

2 to 4 servings of fruit. One serving equals one medium piece of fruit like an apple, banana, or orange; 1/2 cup of chopped fresh, cooked, or canned fruit; 1/4 cup dried fruit; or 3/4 cup of 100-percent fruit juice.

2 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. One serving equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese like cheddar or mozzarella, or 2 ounces of processed cheese like American. If you are 18 years or younger and pregnant, you need at least 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products most often.

2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts. One serving equals 2 to 3 ounces of cooked meat, poultry, or fish-about the size of a deck of cards. Choose lean cuts and eat no more than 5 to 7 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish a day. One cup of cooked beans such as kidney beans or 2 eggs count as a serving. Four tablespoons of peanut butter or 2/3 cup of nuts also equals a serving.

At least 8 glasses of water. Drinking milk, 100-percent juice, seltzer or other non-alcoholic beverages counts toward your amount of daily water.

* Adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Department of Health and Human Services Food Guide Pyramid. NIH Publication No. 02-5130 September 2002

It is recommended that your child be properly examined before prescribing antibiotics. The first rule is to do no harm. It is very hard to diagnose your child properly without doing a proper exam. If you think your child needs antibiotics, call your pediatrician for an appointment or see the nearest point of care for any after hour emergencies. This could be a local urgent care or Emergency room which is approved by your pediatrician.

Knowing how to recognize when your child is sick and needs medical attention is important, both to get your child help when he needs it and to prevent unnecessary visits to the doctor or emergency room.

Most parents call their Pediatrician when their child has a fever, however, it is important to keep in mind that a fever is not the only sign of a serious illness. Whether or not your child has a fever, if he is very irritable, confused, lethargic (doesn't easily wake up), has difficulty breathing, has a rapid and weak pulse, is refusing to eat or drink, is still ill-appearing even after the fever is brought down , has a severe headache or other specific complaint (burning with urination, ear pain, if he is limping, etc.), or if he has a fever and it is persistent for more than 24 to 48 hours, then you should call your pediatrician or seek medical attention immediately.

Fever is not a disease, instead, it is a symptom that can accompany many childhood illnesses, especially infections. In general, you should call your pediatrician if your infant under three months of age has a rectal temperature at or above 100.4 F., if your infant aged 3-6 months has a temperature above 101 F., or if an infant above 6 months has a temperature above 103 F. For most older children, it is not so much the number, but rather how your child is acting that is concerning. If your older child is alert, active and playful, is not having difficulty breathing, and is eating and sleeping well, or if the temperature comes down quickly with home treatments (and he is feeling well, then you don't necessarily need to call your doctor immediately. Also, you should call your doctor if your child has a fever and another medical condition (heart disease, cancer, sickle cell, immune system problems, etc.).

Vomiting typically accompanies diarrhea as part of an acute gastroenteritis or stomach virus in kids. It is usually not concerning if your child has only vomited a few times, is keeping small amounts of fluids down, doesn't have significant abdominal pain and is not dehydrated. You should seek medical attention for vomiting if your child is getting dehydrated (urinating less often, dry mouth, weight loss, etc.), is vomiting dark green bile (bilious vomiting is a sign of an intestinal obstruction), is a newborn or young infant with projectile vomiting (pyloric stenosis), or if he has a severe headache or abdominal pain. Vomiting is especially concerning if it begins after your child already has abdominal pain, which often happens in children with appendicitis.

A cough and runny nose occur commonly in children with colds. If your child is otherwise feeling well, then you don't necessarily need to go to the doctor every time your child has a cold, even if he has a green runny nose. You should see the doctor if your child's cold symptoms continue to worsen after 3-5 days, if they aren't improving in 10-14 days, or if he has another specific complaint, such as ear pain or trouble breathing.

Trouble Breathing
While children often have a cough and sometimes a wheeze when they have a viral upper respiratory tract infection, if your child is having difficulty breathing, then you should call your doctor. You can usually recognize that your child is having trouble breathing if he is breathing fast and hard, if you can see his ribs moving in and out (retractions), or if it seems like he can't catch his breath.

Children most commonly get dehydrated when they have diarrhea and vomiting, from ongoing losses of fluid, but it is also possible to get dehydrated if your child just isn't drinking well. The first sign of dehydration is that your child will urinate less frequently (your child should be urinating every six to eight hours). Other signs include a dry mouth, not having tears when crying, sunken eyes, and decreased activity or increased irritability.

Fussiness accompanies many childhood illnesses. An important way to tell if your child is 'too fussy', is whether or not he is consolable. If your child is fussy and crying, but is easily calmed if you just hold him, then that is less concerning than a child who is not consolable and continues to cry.

If you call your pediatricians' office and say that your child is lethargic, a favorite word among many parents, you are likely to be told to bring your child in right away. Being lethargic, in medical terms, is usually an emergency and means your child is difficult to wake up. Many people use the term to mean that their child's activity is just a little decreased. I have had many 'lethargic' kids running around the office, only to find that the parent thinks their child is lethargic because he is usually running and jumping around. If your child is really lethargic and difficult to wake up, then you should seek medical attention right away. It is less concerning if he is awake and alert and is just not as active as usual.

Children commonly get rashes, from having sensitive skin, warts, poison ivy and as part of many illnesses, such as chickenpox, fifth disease, and roseola. In general, you should call your doctor if your child has a rash and a fever, especially if the rash is purple and doesn't blanch or fade briefly when you press on it, or an itchy rash that isn't relieved with home remedies.

Other Symptoms
Other symptoms that are usually concerning and require medical attention include, but are not limited to:

-coughing or vomiting blood or having bloody diarrhea, especially if is accompanied by a fever
-persistent pain, whether abdominal pain, a headache or knee pain, if your child has severe pain, especially if it limits is mobility and isn't relieved by home remedies, then you should call your doctor
-seizures, especially if your child doesn't generally have a seizure disorder, such as febrile seizures or epilepsy
-testicular pain, which is usually a medical emergency
-head injuries, especially if your child had a loss of consciousness or is acting differently than usual
-cuts and scrapes that require stitches, including those with persistent bleeding, or if the wound is deep and gaping or the skin doesn't come back together
-a severe allergic reaction that includes trouble swallowing or breathing
-a severe headache, especially if your child also has a stiff neck, irritability, vomiting or fever
-pain when urinating (dysuria), which can be a sign of a urinary tract infection
-weight loss, which is hardly ever normal in children and can be a sign of a more serious or chronic illness
-for children with chronic symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, you should call your Pediatrician if your child's symptoms seem worse then usual

Parenting Problems
Your Pediatrician should also be a good resource for you when you have parenting problems. Many parents only make appointments for medical problems, but you can also make an appointment or call when your child has sleep or behavior problems, difficulty potty training, problems at school, etc. Don't wait until the problem is out of control either. Some early help or advice may help prevent bigger problems from developing.

When in doubt, trust your instincts and call your doctor when your child is sick, especially if you think that your child is ill appearing. You should also call your doctor if your child's symptoms are worsening, even if he was recently seen by the doctor.