Preconception Health: Achieving a Healthier You Before Pregnancy
If you’re ready to have a baby of your own, but want to do your best to have a healthy pregnancy, you’re in the right place. Many women are spending additional time adjusting their lifestyles to optimize their health for future pregnancies.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a guide for your use before conception to prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy.
- Weight Worries. Excess weight can cause high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other complications during pregnancy. Aim to get within 15 pounds of your target weight by exercising regularly, cutting back on portions, and removing unhealthy foods to steer clear of any added harm during pregnancy.
- Smoking Send Off. If you or your partner smoke, quit right away. Smoking decreases fertility, increases your chance of miscarriage, and can lead to early delivery and premature weight. Smoking is also a risk factor for SIDS after the baby is born. It can also lead to an increased number of upper respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma in infants and children. Encourage your family and friends to not smoke around you.
- Prenatal Vitamin Vitality. Multivitamins are an excellent way to strengthen your body before you get pregnant. If you start taking supplements, make certain that folic acid is one of the ingredients you take daily. Around 400 mcg a day of folic acid helps reduce your baby’s risk of neural-tube defects (commonly referred to as spina bifida, where the brain, spine, or spinal cord has defects). Also a good idea for your spouse or partner to take a daily multivitamin too! Omega 3 fatty acids are also recommended.
- Balanced Diet Victory. Embrace fruits, veggies, whole grains, and food rich in iron and calcium. Avoid unhealthy fats like canola oil, vegetable oil, and corn oil. Try to focus on foods that are real and natural; no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
- Exercise Scale. Exercise is important before, during, and after your pregnancy. Some women may have to change what type of exercise routines they participate in based upon where they are in their pregnancy and their individual health. Talk with your OB/GYN to determine what level of activity is right for you.
- Avoid Alcohol. A simple way to make this more bearable is to start cutting back gradually. Start by removing one drink a week. Alcohol is not safe to consume during pregnancy and can lead to birth defects such as fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Latte Limit. You should avoid consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy. Prepare for this transition by eliminating coffee and soda from your daily routine a little at a time. Not true. Caffeine is ok in small amounts. NO more than 2 cups of coffee or tea/day. Caffeine is a natural food and is not harmful. Decaffeinated products are chemically processed to remove the caffeine and some of the chemicals can linger in trace amounts. Soda should be avoided as they are non-nutritive.
- Stress Silo. High levels of stress can lead to infertility in some women, so work on silencing your phone and focus on something relaxing and active instead. Spend time outside—it helps reduce anxiety and depression and is an excellent way to refocus your mind.
- Sleep. Make rest a top priority. Allow your body the time it needs to recharge by sleeping the recommended minimum of 7 hours a night.
So whether you’re on your way to being pregnant, already pregnant, or planning ahead, add these easy steps to your daily routine to get started. Remember, the healthier you are, the healthier your baby will be. So start today, kick up the cardio, pack in the fruits and veggies, let go of harmful habits, and embrace your body and the beautiful season of pregnancy with confidence.