If you're thinking about getting pregnant, or are already pregnant, taking care of your health is more important than ever. Some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby even before he is conceived. As a soon-to-be mother, maintaining a healthy lifestyle ensures your baby is safe and developing appropriately. Whether that's taking the right supplements or eating a nutritious diet, the decisions you make now can potentially impact your child's development. Find out what to do and avoid when you're trying to get pregnant.
Please note that the information provided is not intended as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems. Always consult your healthcare provider for guidance based on your individual circumstances.
Key Points of Dos and Dont's When Trying to Conceive
- Do incorporate folate into your diet through food or supplements.
- Don't eat a lot of fatty foods such as butter and fatty meats.
- Do get plenty of sleep, keep stress at bay, and move your body.
- Don't take any herbal supplements unless your doctor says it's okay.
- Do load up on healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
How to Incorporate More Folate Into Your Diet
Get 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily. Eat foods fortified with folic acid, take a multivitamin, or take a prenatal supplement to get your daily dose. Taking folic acid in a pill is the best way to be sure you're getting enough.
Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before you get pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If you don't get enough folic acid, your baby's spine may not form right. This is called spina bifida (spy-nuh bif-uh-duh). Also, your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a vitamin with folic acid. But you also can buy vitamins or folic acid pills at drug and grocery stores.
Some foods rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also added to some foods like enriched bread, pasta, rice, and cereal.
Trying to Conceive – What Else You Should Do
Nearly half of all pregnancies are not planned. And many women don't realize they are pregnant for at least a few weeks. That's why taking care of your health while you are trying to conceive (or even when you're not) is crucial to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. This looks different for everyone but generally includes getting enough essential nutrients, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding harmful substances. Your baby is counting on you for the best start in life! Read on for more tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when trying to conceive and beyond.
Start Watching What You Eat
Load up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. Your baby needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. When fruits and vegetables aren't in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish).
Tell your doctor if you smoke or use alcohol or drugs. Quitting is hard, but you can do it. Ask your doctor for help.
Get enough sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours every night.
Take steps to control the stress in your life. When it comes to work and family, figure out what you can and can not do. Set limits with yourself and others. Don't be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.
Move your body. Once you get pregnant, you can't increase your exercise routine by much. So it's best to start before the baby is on the way.
Get any health problems under control. Talk to your doctor about how your health problems might affect you and your baby. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about how to reach a healthy weight.
Look Into Your Family History
Ask your mother, aunts, grandmother or sisters about their pregnancies. Did they have morning sickness? Problems with labor? How did they cope?
Find out what health problems run in your family. Tell these to your doctor. You can get tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).
Make sure you have had all of your immunizations (shots), especially for Rubella (German measles). If you haven't had chickenpox or rubella, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant.
Make Sure Immunizations Are Current and Medications are Safe
Get checked for diseases or infections. This includes checking for hepatitis (hep-uh-tie-tus) B and C, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV. These infections can harm you and your baby. Tell your doctor if you or your sex partners have ever had an STD or HIV.
Go over all of the medicines you take. Talk with your doctor about any medications you are currently taking (prescription, over-the-counter, and herbals). Make sure they are safe to take while you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.
Ask your partner to limit how much alcohol he drinks. If he uses illegal drugs or smokes, encourage him to quit. Studies show that men who drink a lot, smoke, or use drugs can have problems with their sperm. These might cause you to have problems getting pregnant.
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