Prepare for Pregnancy
Prepare for Pregnancy
|What better time to look at your lifestyle and make changes than before pregnancy|
What can you do to prepare yourself and your body for pregnancy?The answer is to live a healthy lifestyle.
Look at your daily habits and take time to make the necessary changes for you and your future baby.
|Eating a healthy diet at the time pregnancy happens, helps to give your baby the best possible start in life. Many of us need to take a closer look at what we eat and see where we can improve our eating habits. A good diet is key to a healthy pregnancy. Here are some reasons why what you eat is so vital to you and your developing baby.|
A good diet can:
|Smoking is bad for unborn babies. Studies have shown that women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with lower birth weights. Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirths, cleft lip or palate, asthma, preterm labor, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).|
It is best to stop smoking before you get pregnant, rather than waiting to quit once you become pregnant. It is never too late to quit, the sooner a woman stops smoking, the better it will be for both her baby and herself.
|Alcohol can have damaging effects on a developing fetus, even in small quantities. When you have a drink, the alcohol rapidly reaches your baby through your bloodstream and across the placenta. Women who have two or more drinks a day are at greater risk for giving birth to a baby with severe long term effects, such as mental retardation, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and facial and heart defects. |
An estimated 130,000 pregnant women per year in the United States consume alcohol at levels shown to increase the risk of having a baby with FAS or other prenatal alcohol related condition. It is not known what amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy, so it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Finally, alcohol may decrease your ability to get pregnant, that goes for dad too.
Exercise and Fitness
| Are you already physically active? Terrific!|
Exercise before you get pregnant may help your body deal with all of the changes that you will go through during the pregnancy and labor.
Many women enjoy dancing, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, pilates, biking, or walking. Swimming is especially appealing, as it gives you welcome buoyancy (floatability or the feeling of weightlessness).
Try for a combination of cardio (aerobic), strength, and flexibility exercises, and avoid bouncing. Walking at a reasonably fast pace for 20 to 30 minutes three or more times each week will help you to develop good strength, stamina, and cardiovascular health. Stay active, but don't overdo it.
Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
|Are you a coffee drinker? Time to give it up or switch to decaf!|
A few studies have indicated that excessive consumption of caffeine (more than three cups of drip coffee per day) may contribute to fertility problems.
Caffeine is found in colas, coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa and it's a diuretic, which causes your body to lose water and other fluids and calcium, all of which you need to maintain a healthy pregnancy.Caffeine is thought to restrict the growth of a developing baby by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the uterus.
If you are a regular coffee, tea or cola drinker and want to kick the habit completely while you are pregnant, ease off gradually. Going cold turkey may cause headaches, fatigue, and lethargy.
It is okay to have one or two cups of coffee, tea, or cola a week, but try to give them up completely if you can. Tea hampers your body's ability to absorb iron if you drink it within one hour before or after a meal. Caffeine increases your heart rate and metabolism, which in turn affects your developing baby.
|If you work in a job where you are exposed to hazardous or poisonous agents, you may need to temporarily change positions until after the baby is born. |
Get information on possible toxic substances present at your workplace.
Find out if these are at toxic levels and if the workplace is adequately ventilated and workers adequately equipped with protective devices.
Stress, Rest, and Relaxation
|All people experience mental and physical stress as part of life. Too much stress, however, may cause various symptoms such as headaches, depression, and weight gain. While you are pregnant, stress should be minimized to the best of your ability. Stress causes the release of hormones that reduce blood flow to the placenta and triggers contractions, and it has been linked to miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight. |
If you hold a high-pressure job, do what you can to scale back. If you are feeling the heat in your personal life, practice relaxation techniques, surround yourself with supportive people, and seek counseling if need be.
|Drink water regularly|
- at least 8 glasses
of fluid a day