Pre-pregnancy health tips

Medical doctors place a great deal of emphasis on the mother’s health during pregnancy. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that a woman who plans to become pregnant should take steps to practice good health before conception occurs. That way, her uterus can provide a wholesome and nurturing environment for a newly developing baby.

1. Get a physical examination. When you decide to try and become pregnant, see your general medical doctor for a complete physical exam. He or she can test you for many possible disorders, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, and other conditions that could impact your pregnancy or harm the baby. Find out if your weight needs to be adjusted. Heavy women may be prone to miscarriage, while thin ones may not have enough body fat to support a pregnancy. Ask your doctor to recommend any treatments, lifestyle changes, or medications that can improve the quality of your health in connection with your hope of getting pregnant.

2. Start or maintain an exercise plan. With your doctor’s approval, begin with an easy activity schedule and gradually increase to levels that will promote physical fitness and overall health. This often involves 30 to 60 minutes of exercise several days a week. Check with your doctor for the best plan for you, however. You can maintain a moderate exercise schedule throughout pregnancy as long as there are no complications that mandate bed rest or reduced activity.

3. Eat healthy. Foliate is an important nutrient that can help to protect a developing embryo from birth defects in the first trimester of pregnancy. Eat lots of fresh and prepared vegetables and fruits, especially those with deep colors like spinach. You might want to take a daily multivitamin with minerals as well, since you will need to have a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy. Don’t take more than the daily recommended doses of each nutrient, however.

4. Read up. Ask the doctor to recommend books or audiotapes about pregnancy and maternal health. Or browse the library or bookstore to find interesting titles that may prove informative. Learn all you can to be informed about the changes that will take place in your body when you become pregnant, and look for reasonable lifestyle adjustments you can make to enhance your prospective baby’s well-being, such as limiting your intake of alcoholic beverages and quit smoking.

5. Drink plenty of water and clear beverages. Staying hydrated may seem like a small thing, but fluids keep your blood volume at good levels, help circulation, protect muscles, and keep organs in working order. Avoid fattening beverages like milkshakes or nutrition-deficient drinks like soda. Opt instead for purified water, skim milk, and fruit juices.

Getting in shape for your pregnancy can optimize your chances of delivering a healthy baby, while reducing risks of potential complications. It’s a good idea to start planning ahead for this important life cycle by seeing your doctor and protecting your health. Work with your spouse to establish a lifestyle that will benefit you both before baby’s arrival, and provide a solid upbringing when he or she finally comes.