by Della H. Harris
Have baby on the brain? Your pre-kids bucket list could include buying a home, getting your emergency fund established, finishing a degree or finding a good job. You might think there's no sense thinking about starting your family this year. That's not exactly true.
Even though it's not time to ditch the birth control, you can actively get ready for a baby, starting right now. Changes you and your family make today can up your odds of conceiving, improve your pregnancy experience and smooth the way for your baby's grow and development.
Are you wondering which things matter when it come to pregnancy and babies? Our pre-pregnancy checklist can help get your future pregnancy off to a great beginning and ensure your home's a healthy place for kids.
No one doubts that weight and weight gain matter in pregnancy. We're finding out that it matters before pregnancy, too. Overweight women have more trouble getting pregnant and staying pregnant.
Being obese during pregnancy increases the risk of the mother developing hypertension or gestational diabetes and experiencing other pregnancy and birth-related complications. Children of obese mothers face an increased risk of being born with a birth defect and more likely to be overweight later on.
Eating a wholesome diet provides your body with nutrients necessary for healthy eggs and a good environment for your tiny embryo. Try to replace processed foods with whole foods. If you're able, go organic. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants that reduce inflammation can increase your fertility.
Other foods that boost fertility include healthy fats like those found in salmon and protein that comes from vegetable sources. Some food you might want to skip, like refined carbohydrates and sugared, sweetened drinks.
Exercise helps you take off pounds, reduces stress and can raise your chance of conceiving. A study in "Obstetrics & Gynecology" concluded that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.
On the other hand, too much exercise can decrease your chance of getting pregnant. According to Swedish research, women who opt for high-intensity cardio activities are three times more likely to experience fertility issues than women who pursue gentler forms of working out.
How much is just right? Women's heath organization haven't provided guidelines, so most specialist don't dole out fitness advice. Jane Simons, a physiotherapist specializing in women's health and pregnancy fitness suggests that if you're able to walk up a few flights of stairs without panting and puffing, you're probably in good shape for pregnancy. How does your fitness routine measure up?
Clean up your environment as much as you can. Radiation, heavy metals and toxic chemical affect egg and sperm development and interfere with hormones. They can also negatively affect your wee baby bean. Some ways you can detox around the house include: use natural cleaning products, minimize exposure to BPA and phthalates, using stainless steel cookware and eating foods low in toxins.
Your body cleanses itself of some harmful substances from smoke in days; others are stored in fat and take longer to eliminate.
Smokers have more trouble getting pregnancy. Their pregnancy can be riskier, too. Smoking is associated with preterm birth, low birthweights, and other pregnancy complications. Babies whose moms smoke face an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and asthma.
Women who drink can take longer to conceive. Many experts think that you should limit alcohol once you're actively trying to conceive.