Considerations during pregnancy

There are a number of things to take into account to ensure the health and well-being of a mother-to-be and her child. These include diet, mental health and the circumstances of daily life.

Diet and lifestyle

  • A healthy diet, rest and exercise are important for the health and well-being of a pregnant woman and vital for the growth and development of a foetus.
  • Some foodstuffs should be avoided during pregnancy, such as raw seafood and raw meat products.
  • Smoking, passive smoking, alcohol, drugs and some medicinal products can have damaging effects on a foetus.
  • A doctor or midwife should always be consulted before taking medicinal products or dietary supplements. Doctors and pharmacists must be informed of a pregnancy before prescribing medicinal products.

Post-natal depression

  • It is important to recognise the symptoms of post-natal depression. It is believed that almost every seventh Icelandic woman experiences mental distress after giving birth.
  • The symptoms generally appear 6 to 8 weeks after childbirth, but can appear during the last trimester or up to a year after childbirth.
  • A mother who believes she is experiencing post-natal depression should seek help as soon as possible. Relatives should also monitor the mother's well-being and assist as much as they can.
  • It is a good idea is to seek the advice of doctors, midwives and nurses in healthcare centres, as treatment of post-natal depression depends on the severity of the depression.
  • A mother's untreated depression can have harmful effects on the development of the child and its relationship with its mother, as well as having a lasting effect on the mental health of the mother.

Social circumstances

  • If a pregnant woman is dealing with personal difficulties, such as financial difficulties, difficult family circumstances or depression, assistance may be sought from maternity care providers.
  • Social workers, psychologists and employees of municipal social services offer interviews and provide advice on rights and social assistance.

Links of interest