Pre-pregnancy health plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth and successful journey to motherhood. You need to get your body ready for pregnancy with healthy lifestyle choices and good nutrition. Then only you have better chances of getting pregnant and are well prepared to ward off complications. Good health prior to conception effectively conditions your body for pregnancy and childbirth, giving the best possible start to motherhood.
If you are planning to become pregnant in a few months, start giving extra attention to your physical and mental health. Keep a track of your pre-pregnancy health and chart out a healthy regimen. Make sure your diet, daily activities, and lifestyle are good enough to help your body prepare for motherhood without any fear of pregnancy complications. Here is a list of steps you must take cognizance of when considering to conceive and start a family.
Go Off the Birth Control To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Stop the birth control as soon as you feel ready for pregnancy. It may take several weeks or even months to reverse the effects of pills or contraceptives and get your body ready for pregnancy. Assess the fertility conditions while keeping an eye on pre-pregnancy health and wellness. Start checking your ovulating time and plan your lovemaking accordingly so that you have the best chances of getting pregnant.
You may see a change in menstrual cycle as soon as you go off the pill. It is natural, as your hormones return to their normal level. The exact time taken for getting pregnant after ditching the pill varies depending on the type of contraception. Many return to fertility in a few weeks while others take months to become pregnant. Once your ovulation is back on track, you have a good shot at conceiving.
Eat Smart, Choose A Healthy Diet To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Your diet is the foremost factor in conditioning your body for the baby and helping avoid the risk of gestational diabetes. Cut out junk food, increase the intake of folic acid, monitor vitamin A, and avoid indulging in foods that only add empty calories to improve your pre-pregnancy health. Increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting the consumption of fat and sugar.
Plan your diet with the intake of food high in protein and low on carbs, as these are known to improve fertility in women. Eggs, lean meat, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent source of proteins that help in hormonal functioning. For vegetarians, beans, iron-rich nutrients, and legumes do the trick. Omega-3 storage in the body also helps in fetal brain development. So, go for chia seeds, yogurt, salads, whole grain breakfast cereals, dried fruit, and flax seeds.
Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium and protein. However, ensure you have a good combination of full-fat and skimmed dairy products. Fruits and veggies help you get essential nutrients and antioxidants keep away inflammation.
Shun These Foods To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Avoid foods that may impact your health before pregnancy. See labels of each food to find out the saturated fat and sugar level. Keep away from high-mercury fish, foods rich in flavor and artificial compounds, and veggies grown up with a higher amount of fertilizer. Ensure your food has no trace of trans fat, as it may lead to infertility. Too much caffeine is also harmful. So, limit it to 200 ml daily.
Even FDA suggests that you should not have more than 12 oz of low-mercury fish a week. Shun soda, sugary beverages, processed and packaged food while limiting fruit juice. Whole fruit is a better option than the extracted juice. Couples must minimize or stop alcohol, as it may lead to infertility and miscarriage.
Shed Extra Pounds To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Weight is an important parameter of health before and during pregnancy. Research shows that women with a body mass index between 24 and 30 are more fertile. If you are overweight, try to ditch the extra pounds. If you are underweight, add some to achieve the BMI score.
Obesity and being overweight enhances the risk of miscarriage, hypertension, and gestational diabetes. So, cut down on binge eating, stop food with high amount of carbs, and hit the gym for a daily moderate training session. Eat healthy and stay fit to improve and maintain your pre-pregnancy health.
Make Lifestyle Changes and Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
A good lifestyle is an assurance for a good health. You must not hesitate to change your habits if you feel it may impact you during or after pregnancy. Plan your diet and exercise considering your pregnancy needs, stop smoking and drinking, cut back on partying, no late-night television soaps, and avoid stress and unsafe environment wherever possible.
Start your day with moderate exercises and end with a good night of sleep. Quit smoking and avoid drinking, as these may reduce your fertility and put you at the risk of miscarriage. Passive smoking also increases the chances of physical and developmental harm to the baby. Avoid exposure to radiation and dangerous chemicals.
Diet and exercise are the bedrock of your physical health. Stay fit with regular exercise. A stronger body means you have better ability to deal with pregnancy complications and handle childbirth. Go for swimming, yoga, and at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Avoid too much or extreme workouts, as it may impact your ovulation process.
No Medication Without Prescription To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Don’t take any medication without a prescription. Drugs may reduce your fertility while medication side effects result in poor pre-pregnancy health and complications after conception. Only use medications prescribed by your doctors.
Antidepressants are known to cause birth defects when used before or during pregnancy. Prescription drugs may cause addiction and put you at a risk of the withdrawal syndrome during pregnancy. Check any drug if it is categorized as harmful for expectant mothers or read about its possible side effects.
Avoid Stress, Workplace Threats to Pre-Pregnancy Health
Adequate rest, relaxation, and freedom from stress improve pre-pregnancy health. Ensure you are not bogged down by stress and strain either on the family front or at the workplace. Stress can adversely affect your mental health and a disturbed state may lead to inattentive care and negative thoughts. Avoid nightshift jobs, standing too much, or working too long.
Keep yourself calm and away from any dangerous substances and situations that may cause physical or psychological injury. Whenever you feel entering in a stressful situation, try to avoid and overcome the same. Find out what makes you feel more relaxed and follow that recurrently. Feel free to do what you like the most and avoid what you disapprove of.
Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy by Reducing Environmental, Infection Risks
Ensure caution while traveling to protect yourself from infectious, waterborne, or viral diseases. Learn about Zika virus and make sure you have adequate safeguards in place. Have your vaccination on time to safeguard your pre-pregnancy health. Take care while cooking or eating food to make sure you have utmost hygiene. Raw and undercooked food and unpasteurized dairy products and juices may carry dangerous bacteria linked to miscarriage or stillbirth. Sexually transmitted diseases may spoil your plan.
Use gloves when digging or changing dustbin or the litter box. It is better to move to a contamination-free ambiance. Environmental dangers, such as pollution and radiation, may spoil your efforts to get pregnant. Stay clear of noise, vehicular, and water pollution.
Pre-Pregnancy Health Check-Up Visit
Meet your ob-gyn at least three months prior to planning your pregnancy. Discuss about your general health, going off the contraception, fertility issues, vaccinations, need for daily diet and exercise, and specific conditions that have a bearing on pregnancy and childbirth. You should also talk about risks posed to particular ethnic descendants.
A regular checkup holds the key to staying fit and ready for pregnancy. It is advisable to do a complete blood checkup to identify any thyroid or nutritional issues. Address them as soon as possible. Any disorder can endanger the life of your baby in the womb, so take adequate measures to prevent them from impacting your health prior to pregnancy.
Recent researches show that pre-pregnancy oral health has the potential to impact your pregnancy. Mouth infections and gum diseases increase the threat of miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. So, meet a dentist and get your teeth and gums checked as a part of the overall pre-pregnancy health checkup.
Consider Genetic Carrier Screening
Prospective parents should undergo genetic carrier screening to assess if their future baby is at the risk of recessive disorders. Testing helps identify the possibility of over 400 genetic disorders. It may tell you if your baby will be a carrier of abnormal genes or have symptoms of genetic disorders after birth. With awareness of potential threats, you can make an informed decision on pregnancy and remain prepared to manage it accordingly.
Folic Acid Key to Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
You may need about 400-600 micrograms of folic acid daily before pregnancy to keep your body ready for the baby. It increases your fertility while reducing the chances of pregnancy loss and congenital defects in babies. You may source folic acid from grains, vegetables, citrus fruits, cereals, or supplements.
However, remain attentive to the fact that you do not eat more than required multivitamin. Intake of more than recommended vitamin A can be risky to the fetal health. Have a detailed test of your nutritional levels and plan the diet chart accordingly.
Check Thyroid Disorder To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism is very common in women. When you have an underactive thyroid, the body faces problem during ovulation. With the problem in the release of the egg, you may have to deal with impaired fertility. Too much thyroid fluctuation may also contribute to the loss of pregnancy.
Get your thyroid levels checked before planning pregnancy. Take adequate medications and dietary changes to make sure your thyroid level remains under control and without affecting your ovulation.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com