by Della H. Harris
Have you been thinking of tossing aside the birth control or are already busy making a baby?
As you countdown the days and dream about your soon-to-be new family member, we know that you want to give him or her the healthiest start possible.
Even something like making small or definitive lifestyle adjustments can lead to improvements and help reduce risks and complications. The big bonus is that you improve your body, well-being and help foster and create a safe environment for your wee one-to-be in and outside the womb!
Look through our tips, suggestions and ideas below to learn what you can do before, during, and after pregnancy. You'll find information on nutrition, exercise and answers to every day questions that might be on your list!
While your baby-to-be is just a twinkle in your eye, now is the perfect time to get your body and life geared up to nourish a life.
Get down to your ideal weight.
Weight gain matters in pregnancy. We're finding out that your weight before pregnancy matters, too. Overweight and obese women take longer to get pregnant and have more complications. Mom's weight appears to set the stage for the baby's future weight, as well.
Start your new, healthy lifestyle today.
If you smoke, consider stopping. We know it isn't easy, but we all know what smoking can do. Your body can take a few days to a few months to cleanse itself of harmful substances from smoke. As a non-smoker, you'll get pregnant sooner, have less pregnancy complications and your baby will be born into a safer environment.
The jury's out on whether light drinking during pregnancy is safe. You might want to ease up on alcohol. We do know that women who drink take longer to get pregnant. We recommend not drinking while trying to conceive, and during your pregnancy. Why create potential issues?
Dads should get healthy, too.
A healthy partner improves your chances of getting pregnant. Sperm takes 90 days to develop so his changes now matter. Encourage your partner to take care of himself, exercise, eat right and stop smoking, drinking or taking harmful drugs. Your baby's future health might depend on it, according to recent research.
Schedule a preconception appointment.
Your doctor or midwife can suggest tests and discuss topics to get you physically and emotionally ready for a life-enhancing and life-changing event -- your new baby.
Start folic acid before conception.
Your baby's brain and spinal column begin developing the first days and weeks after conception. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects and pregnancy complications like pre-term labor and birth. Experts recommend that you take 400-600 mg daily while you're baby-making.
A wholesome diet provides your body and your baby with nutrients necessary for healthy growth. Try to replace processed foods with whole foods. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants that reduce inflammation can increase your fertility. If you're able, go organic and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.
Minimize stress and learn effective methods of dealing with stress you can't avoid. Stress increasing your risk of preterm labor and seems to contribute to a host of problems for your baby after birth.