A Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr Serah Awoyemi, has advised pregnant women to undergo a dental examination to prevent mother-to-child transmission of bacteria and infections during pregnancy.
Awoyemi gave the advice during an interview with reporters in Ado-Ekiti on Friday.
Such a procedure, she said, was necessary, especially at the early stage of pregnancy, to ensure good health of mother and child.
She said that the clinical check would also help to prevent mother-to-child harmful and complicated issues, including premature labour.
The consultant emphasised the need for pregnant women to avoid some procedures, such as ‘whitening’ and ensure they had regular medical check-ups to guard against bacterial infections.
“One possible reason is that oral bacteria harbours prostaglandin, a labour inducing hormone.
“Fluctuating hormone can cause expecting mothers to develop pregnancy gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gum).
“This, if left untreated, can lead to periodontal diseases, which in turn, can raise the risk for low birth weight and premature delivery.
“If you reduce the bacteria in the mouth, you reduce the low-level infections that could cause preterm labour.
“So, pregnant women are advised to undertake clinical examination and cleaning of their teeth at least once, to have a clean bill of health,” she said.
The medical expert also said that it was necessary for pregnant women to cultivate good eating habits to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
She disagreed with the belief that eating plenty of food would produce healthier and stronger babies.
Awoyemi said that heavier mothers, especially those who became overweight when they conceived and gained more weight during pregnancy, were at greater risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension.
According to her, their babies tend to be larger in the process and can cause serious difficulties during delivery.
She, therefore, advised mothers against becoming overweight, urging them to do a lot of exercises to keep fit.
“You don’t need to gain a great deal of weight to have a healthier baby.
“A foetus generally requires only an extra 100 calories a day in the first trimester and 300 calories in the third trimester,” Awoyemi said.