Being healthy before pregnancy helps you maintain good habits during and after pregnancy. Even before you start trying to conceive, there are ways you can prepare to be physically and emotionally fit to carry a child. So if you see yourself considering parenthood within the next year or two, start preparing now for a healthy pregnancy.
A Doctor’s Visit
At a pre-pregnancy checkup, you can talk to your doctor about any health risks, medical conditions or areas of your family history that could affect or be affected by pregnancy. It’s not a bad idea to visit all of your doctors, not just your gynecologist. Get any impending dental or vision work done before you set off on the journey of conception.
Emotions and Stress
Review your emotional health and that of your partner. In order to reduce stress while trying to conceive, ChildBirthConnection.org suggests identifying what causes stress in your life, clarifying priorities, simplifying your life and asking for help if needed. Exercise, mediation, journaling and adequate sleep also can play a big part in balancing your emotional health.
Most healthy couples can conceive within a year of trying, according to the Mayo Clinic. Learn about your menstrual cycle, ovulation and times you’re most fertile. A digital ovulation kit can help you know when you’re most likely to conceive. Awareness prevents mistakes made out of ignorance and can help alleviate unnecessary stress.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
If you have any potentially harmful habits you want to break, pre-conception is the time to change them. When letting go of old patterns and establishing new ones, don’t try to change everything at once. Start with something you can do and gradually work your way up to loftier goals. Make sure you have a group of supporters who will encourage and reinforce what you’re aiming for. If you don’t need to break habits only incorporate better ones, remember to take your vitamins. Before and during pregnancy, WebMd suggests taking 400 micrograms of folic acid to help prevent birth defects.
Your Partner’s Role
Your partner’s lifestyle can affect your pregnancy and chances of conceiving. If he doesn’t adopt the same healthy habits you do, his behavior may negatively affect yours and your baby. Also, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hazards he faces at work could affect his reproductive health. Exposure to certain substances can cause a lowered sperm count and abnormal sperm shape.
Exercise and Fitness
Cardiovascular exercise not only helps you lose weight and build strength, but it can prepare you for labor and birth. ChildBirthConnection.org suggests these tips for staying active:
- Exercise while watching TV
- Walk upstairs to the other restroom
- Play a team sport or take lessons
- Stretch or do yoga 10 minutes a day
- Park further away from stores
Knowing and sharing your family history with your doctor can help you prepare for a healthier pregnancy. One reason is because you can be more prepared and aware of certain risks you and your partner have. You may want to consider genetic counseling if you or anyone in your family has had several miscarriages, trouble getting pregnant or sudden infant deaths.
Author: Marie Dumas
Originally from France, Marie enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to be a freelance writer living in Connecticut.
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