Finding out that you’re about to be a new mom is one of the most exciting things in a person’s life. The excitement is normally translated into buying a bunch of pregnancy books, telling friends and family, planning a baby shower, picking out cribs and regularly going to the doctor to make sure that the baby is in good health.
But what about your health, almost mommy? Sure, you need to keep yourself healthy to keep the baby healthy. Normally that means moms will watch what they eat, quit bad habits like smoking, temporarily quit drinking alcohol and get moderate exercise.
All these habits you form as a pregnant woman directly affect the baby which could explain why eye care gets shelved during this time. It’s true that the state of your eyes won’t affect the health of your baby, but it will have a negative impact on your own quality of life if they aren’t looked after during a time when your body is going through a lot of changes.
We’d like to take the stress out of worrying about your eyes by providing you with our best tips to take care of your eyes while pregnant.
1. Go to the Eye Doctor
You’re already in and out of appointments with your regular doctor and gynecologist as a pregnant woman. The last thing you want is to add another doctor’s appointment. But going to the eye doctor could save your vision during pregnancy.
At the very least, see your eye doctor during the first trimester of your pregnancy. If nothing is wrong, your doctor may only ask you contact them if your vision worsens or causes you pain of any kind. If that’s the case, all you need to do is keep an eye out for abrupt or gradual changes in your vision.
However, sometimes eye doctors will find that your eyesight should be monitored throughout your pregnancy. This is often the case for women with pre-existing conditions, as well as women with diabetes.
Bite the bullet and make an appointment with your eye doctor before or at the start of your pregnancy.
2. Monitor Your Diabetes
For women with diabetes, your best bet is to make an appointment with your eye doctor before getting pregnant. We know that pregnancy isn’t always planned, and in that case get to your eye doctor as soon as possible.
People with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which damages blood vessel in the retina and causes blurred and lost vision. This risk is only increased in diabetic pregnant women. Blood sugar levels fluctuate more during pregnancy which can lead you to developing the disease.
A temporary form of diabetes called gestational diabetes can also be developed by pregnant women who do not have diabetes already.
It is incredibly important for pregnant women to monitor their diabetes closely. Going for regular eye screenings will also help detect and prevent diabetic retinopathy for both diabetic and non-diabetic women.
Your doctor can also help with regulating your blood sugar levels, which is an essential part of avoiding this eye disease.
3. Change Your Prescription Temporarily
Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? Well, you may have to get a temporary prescription change during pregnancy. Because a pregnant body will retain more fluids than normal, it may change the shape and thickness of your cornea.
Because of this change, it may cause blurred vision. Normally this isn’t a problem for most women. The blurred vision doesn’t affect their day to day and the cornea will revert back to normal after the baby is born.
For some women the blurred vision poses a problem. In this case, see your eye doctor to discuss steps you can take to restore your vision. However, it is not recommended to undergo surgery or buy an expensive new pair of glasses. For a few months, you may need to wear temporary glasses with your new prescription.
This condition can also affect women who don’t typically require corrective eyewear. In any case, it isn’t anything to worry about. But if you are concerned about your vision, talk to your eye doctor immediately.
4. Keep Your Body and Eyes Hydrated
The hormone changes in your body will make your eyes more dry than normal. Although only in extreme cases will dry eyes cause scarring, dry eyes can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Having another person growing inside you can be uncomfortable enough that you don’t need your eyes giving you a hard time too.
The best way to avoid this discomfort is to stay hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated with water will also help your eyes stay hydrated. However, eyes also need regular tear production to stay hydrated so sometimes water isn’t enough.
Changing hormones during pregnancy can cause a decrease in tear duct function. In that case, you’re going to need to get lots of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Omega-3s are found in eggs, flaxseeds, walnuts and in omega-3 supplements.
If your dry eyes worsen and pain you, your eye doctor may recommend special eye drops. These drops will provide you with temporary but immediate relief. If you want a more permanent solution, omega-3s have got your back.
5. Be Aware of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a rare condition that can develop in five to eight percent of pregnancies. Normally when preeclampsia develops it’s due to a problem or damage within another organ in the body. When this happens, your eye doctor and physician both need to get involved.
Symptoms of preeclampsia are blurred or loss of vision, a sensitivity to light, the appearance of flashing lights and auras or glows around objects and people. Preeclampsia can be a result of high blood pressure, so it’s important to monitor that during your pregnancy.
If you find you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. The disease can progress quickly and lead to bleeding in the eye and other complications.
Don’t let your eyes be another stress during your pregnancy. Taking care of them is as easy as talking to your eye doctor regularly about your health. Now put your feet up, and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.