In the recent days, it is not a norm among couples to extend their family immediately after marriage. They take time for their career and their personal space before planning to conceive a baby. Parents these days are proactive and plan extensively before they invite a little one into their home.
However, before planning to conceive a baby, the most important step is to get healthy. A healthy pregnancy and a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy child.
Here are some 5 important things that you should keep in mind before you plan to conceive a baby:
1. Visit a doctor
If you are planning to have a baby, you must visit a gynecologist or an obstetrician or even your family physician for a checkup. It is important because your health condition or your family health history is essential to review pre-conception. Also, if you are on some supplements or medications that might affect the embryo, the doctor will be able to advise you if you should continue or put a stop to those medications. All these risk factors might interfere with your pregnancy and the growth of a healthy baby.
Your weight and diet also play a vital role in your conception and pregnancy. Obesity, poor habits like smoking, drinking or taking drugs can pose serious harm to your pregnancy. Therefore it is better to give up on those habits and work towards getting back in a healthy weight.
Before conceiving you must also take care of any health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma.
2. Folic Acid
Folic acid plays an important role in pregnancy. It is not only good for the mother but also the fetus as the vitamin aids in the growth of the brain and spinal cord. A deficiency in folic acid can cause birth defects called neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
3. Give up smoking and drinking
Smoking, binge-drinking and doing drugs are the worst things that you can do to your health. Studies have shown that smoking or drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, and low-birth-weight babies.
Not only affecting your fetus negatively, tobacco and drugs also affect your fertility and lower sperm count of your husband.
If you have had these habits since years and find it difficult to give up, do talk to your doctor or take help from a professional counselor.
4. Start eating healthy
All those junk food you have been living on for so long needs to be thrown off your fridge and kitchen. Restock your fridge and kitchen with healthy picks like seasonal fruits and veggies, health drinks, dairy products, lean meat, dry fruits and nuts, orange juice, yogurt, and whole grains. These foods are rich in all the essential nutrients that will contribute to a healthy pregnancy and a health-birth-weight baby.
Doctors also advise on keeping a check on the fish that you eat. Though fish is a very rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients, some fish has very high mercury content that can be harmful. The U.S. FDA recommends avoiding fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. However, good choices of fish include herring, farm-raised rainbow trout, salmon, and sardines.
5. Watch your weight
These days, we can hardly maintain a proper weight, thanks to our eating habits and odd office hours. Women tend to gain weight more easily and it makes it difficult for them to conceive at the right age. So if you are thinking of welcoming a new member to your family, enroll in a gym or aerobics class. If your weight gain is due to an underlying health issue, try to work on it first.
Or you might take advice from your doctor on how to achieve the recommended weight. You may also consider talking to a nutritionist.
Aim for a healthy pre-conception and pregnancy.