Well-informed pregnancy planning can transform your journey to becoming a mother from good to great. It reduces risks to you and your future child, increases your chances of conception for a healthy pregnancy, and most importantly gives you peace of mind. Pre-pregnancy planning can be exciting yet nerve-racking, sometimes causes anxiety in hopeful mothers and couples who are attempting to conceive for the very first time.
Pre-conception health focuses on things you can do during pregnancy planning to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. For some women, getting their bodies ready for pregnancy takes a few months. For other women, it might take longer. Whatever stage you are at, there are many steps you can take to get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Maintain a Nutritious and Well-Rounded Pregnancy Diet
Eating a variety of healthy foods is important for good health, especially when planning pregnancy. Your daily diet should include a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. You will also want to cut down on fats like butter and minimise your intake of fried foods. Choose lean meats and poultry (chicken or turkey without skin) when shopping for protein at the supermarket. Do not eat high levels of mercury while pregnant, as they have been associated with reduced pregnancy rates. Hydration is essential during pre-conception and pregnancy, so drink plenty of fluids every day. Limit or omit coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks like soda. Find out more tips on maintaining a healthy fertility diet.
Develop a Consistent, Sustainable Exercise Regimen
No pre-pregnancy planning list would be complete without the inclusion of physical activity. It’s crucial for you and your new baby’s health to develop a regular and moderate exercise program that you can continue during pregnancy at a steady pace without injury or exhaustion. Begin slowly and build up this exercise routine reasonably and gradually. Try to set a goal of exercising at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week while you’re pregnant. Avoid Bikram or other forms of “hot” yoga where you’ll be exposed to intense heat. This also means avoiding saunas and hot tubs during pregnancy.
Make Your Pre-conception Plan for Pregnancy Weight Gain
If you are underweight or overweight, incorporate this issue into your pre-pregnancy planning and try to reach a healthy weight before attempting to conceive. A normal body mass index (BMI) is between 20-24 kg/m2, please speak to your health professional to learn more before trying to get pregnant.
Be Cautious and Aware of Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Any pre-conception plan should acknowledge existing medical conditions that could potentially affect your pregnancy planning. It’s best to be on the side of caution here because nearly all existing health issues can affect the health of your unborn baby, including:
- High blood pressure
- Seizure disorders
- Pharmacy Prescriptions
Please discuss your medical conditions and medications with your doctor before you get pregnant. Even if you feel that your condition has been treated or is currently under control, it may become a problem whilst planning pregnancy or impact your ability to conceive in the first place.
Stop Smoking NOW – Your Baby’s Life Depends on it
If you smoke cigarettes, one of the most important things you can do to improve your health when planning a pregnancy is to quit smoking. This is even more crucial to the fragile health of the tiny miracle you will grow inside you. Smoking may also make it harder for you to conceive during the pre-pregnancy planning phase of your fertility journey. It has been shown that smoking has an adverse effect on your body’s ability to produce high-quality eggs during ovulation.
Women who smoke are more likely to have serious health problems in pregnancy and childbirth, experiencing premature birth and bearing underweight babies who have medical problems throughout their lives.
It might seem like a lot of things to think about, but breaking your pre-pregnancy planning into smaller categories can streamline your decisions and take the stress out of the whole process. You’ve got this!