Preparing for a pregnancy well before hand is essential for every woman who is trying to conceive. The amount of care you take to prepare for a pregnancy will maximizes the prospect of a trouble-free pregnancy. Your physical and mental health is bound to have a profound effect on the baby.
It is recommended to prepare for your pregnancy ideally 5-6 months before you plan to conceive. While the organs of the fetus start developing during the first week of conception, women are generally aware of their pregnancy only two weeks after conception. Therefore, planning ahead for a healthy pregnancy will help you avoid unnecessary complications during this crucial phase.
There are no fail-safe ways to ensure a successful pregnancy but it is always sensible to take the necessary steps to achieve the best possible outcome. Read on to find some useful tips and guidelines to follow while preparing for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Tips For Getting A Healthy Pregnancy
Prenatal Health Check Up
A visit to the health care provider is the biggest step forward while preparing for pregnancy. The doctor can help you clear the common misconceptions, queries and discuss birth options. The doctor may advise you to undergo physical check-up to ascertain your health status. You will also be checked for medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia, sexually transmitted disease and thyroid disorder that can severely affect the outcome of pregnancy.
It is prudent to immunize yourself against infectious agents like varicella (chicken pox) and rubella (measles) that can pass through the placenta and lead to miscarriage or birth defects. If there is a history of an inherited disorder present within the family or close relatives, the couple may be advised to opt for genetic counseling.
Maintaining A Healthy Body Weight
Your body weight plays a key role in pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy body weight reduces the risk of major lifestyle conditions like diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension.
It is not desirable to lose or gain excessive weight after you become pregnant as it can have a direct effect on the growing fetus. Therefore, consult your doctor and devise a plan to achieve a healthy weight while planning for pregnancy.
The brain and spinal cord start developing during the first 28 days after conception, which is even before a woman knows she is pregnant. It is recommended to take 400 micrograms of folic acid supplement everyday prior to conception and during the initial weeks of pregnancy. Studies confirm that regular intake of folic acid can greatly reduce the risk of spina bifida (incomplete closure of spinal cord) and anencephaly (under development of brain). Remember to consult your health care provider before you take any nutritional supplement.
It is not only important to have a well-balanced diet when you are pregnant but it is equally vital to eat healthy before you are trying to conceive.
Follow a healthy diet pattern which includes large portions of fruits and vegetables, reduced amounts of fat and adequate amounts of high-fibre cereals. It is good to refrain from frozen foods, raw eggs and undercooked meat to avoid food poisoning.
It is important to alter your lifestyle when you are trying to conceive. Regular exercise will have a positive effect on pregnancy. Exercise can reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension. Apart from boosting your energy and burning excess fat, regular physical activity can improve your immune system, relieve stress and increase your chances of having a normal delivery.
Exercising at least 30 minutes every day can improve your health status. Taking stairs instead of an elevator, playing a sport, walking your dog, doing household chores and working in the garden will help you stay active.
Regular smoking can affect the outcome of pregnancy in a large way. Smoking increases the chances of miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm birth and still birth. Smoking can have long-term effect on the baby. Chain smoking is linked to a condition called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Passive smoking can also cause severe complications in pregnancy. It can lead to respiratory infections and physical deformities in the new born.Therefore, reduce the exposure to passive smoking by keeping your home a smoke-free zone. It is also advisable to ask your partner to stop smoking.
Avoid Alcohol And Drugs
While it is widely encouraged to abstain from alcohol when you are expecting, it is also wise to avoid alcohol while you are trying to conceive. Alcohol consumption can severely reduce the chances of conceiving. Drinking can interfere with the growth of baby. It can lead to miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight and severe mental damage.
Avoid recreational drugs when you are trying to become pregnant. Using drugs can affect the heart, brain and other vital organs of the growing fetus. Some drugs like heroin and amphetamines can cause SIDS, low birth weight and respiratory failure in the infants. It can lead to serious pregnancy complications like maternal high blood pressure, miscarriage and premature delivery.