Having a baby is a significant milestone in transforming your life. It changes you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and you never really go back to how things were before. You might lose the baby weight and be able to have a drink again, but there’s something different about you now that you’re a parent. To make sure that this transition is as smooth as possible, there are a few things you should consider doing before you get pregnant.
Have a Pre-pregnancy Conversation
Having a pre-pregnancy discussion with your partner before attempting conception is vital to ensure a safe and successful pregnancy. You and your spouse can discuss pregnancy, parenting, and family planning. Discuss your family’s medical history and any genetic risks that may affect pregnancy outcome. You can also talk about your objectives and aspirations for parenthood and your preparation for delivery via in-person or online birth preparation courses, childcare, parental leave, and financial obligations.
Moreover, this conversation allows you to have any worries or apprehensions about being parents. This can help reduce tension and ensure that you and your partner are on the same page before you begin trying to conceive. By having a pre-pregnancy chat, you and your spouse can build a solid foundation of communication and trust that will support you as you prepare to become parents. This way, you can feel more assured and ready for the challenges and rewards of co-parenting.
Avoid Substance Abuse
When trying to conceive, it’s crucial to avoid any substance use. Substance abuse can adversely affect fertility and increase the risk of pregnancy-related difficulties such as stillbirths, premature births, low birth weights, congenital disabilities, and miscarriages. If you intend to get pregnant, it’s vital to abstain from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Substance abuse can result in poor-quality sperm and eggs, making conception more challenging, as consuming drugs or alcohol while pregnant can have long-term consequences on the child’s health.
It’s important to note that reducing substance misuse impacts everyone, not just mothers. Fathers who use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco can also experience fertility issues, and their children are more likely to be born with congenital disabilities. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, seek help from a healthcare professional before trying to conceive. They can recommend resources to help you quit and improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
To have a successful pregnancy and a healthy child, it is essential to thoroughly research your family’s medical history before attempting to conceive. Awareness of inherited diseases or genetic concerns can enable you and your healthcare provider to make informed decisions about your pregnancy and prepare for necessary screenings or interventions. By delving into your family’s medical history, you can identify any hereditary disorders or hazards that may affect your pregnancy and take steps to mitigate those risks and ensure a safer pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Folic Acid Fortification
Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy is one of the most critical steps toward a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. This B vitamin, also known as folate, is essential for cell growth and development, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy as the baby’s neural tube forms. Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth problems such as spina bifida and anencephaly that occur when the neural tube does not close completely during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Research shows that taking folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy can decrease the incidence of Neural tube defects by up to 70%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, and women who are trying to conceive should start taking it at least a month before conception.
Taking folic acid may reduce the risk of Neural tube defects and benefit the health of both mother and baby. It has been linked to a lower risk of preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and miscarriage, as well as possibly preventing some heart and mouth congenital disabilities.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
To ensure a successful pregnancy and healthy baby, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to conceive. Being underweight or overweight can impact fertility, increase the risk of pregnancy complications, and have long-term health implications for both mother and child.
For overweight or obese women, losing weight before pregnancy can improve fertility and reduce the chances of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension, etc.
Pregnancy-related issues. Furthermore, it can increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and delivery. On the other hand, being underweight can increase the likelihood of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental delays, and can also affect fertility. To ensure a safe pregnancy, underweight women may need to gain weight before attempting to conceive.
In addition, maintaining a healthy weight can benefit both the mother and child in the long run. Children born to overweight or obese pregnant women have a higher lifetime risk of obesity and related health problems.
Consulting with a healthcare professional about weight and adopting healthy lifestyle changes such as modifying eating habits, increasing physical activity, and managing underlying medical conditions that may contribute to weight problems can improve the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Improve Your Mental Health
It’s important to note that mental health is just as important as physical health regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Seeking support and treatment for any mental health issues before attempting to conceive can lead to better outcomes for both the mother and child.
It’s also essential to prioritize mental health during and after pregnancy. This may include seeking therapy, medication, or other treatments as needed and finding ways to reduce stress and prioritize self-care. Sleep & Cradle®️ offers an online birth preparation course that provides emotional support during your pregnancy journey and prepares you for childbirth.
Social support is critical for maintaining good mental health during pregnancy and connecting with family and friends, joining a support group, or seeking out other resources in the community. Taking care of your mental health can increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy and giving your child the best possible start in life.
The Sleep & Cradle®️ Solutions team is excited about your journey toward a healthy pregnancy. It’s great that you’re considering preconception advice to make things easier in the long run. To ensure a healthy pregnancy and give your baby the best start, avoiding toxic substances and environmental toxins when trying to conceive is crucial. These harmful chemicals can increase the risk of birth abnormalities, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications. It’s essential to be mindful of potential exposure sources and avoid them, such as avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke, amongst others. By taking these precautions, you can reduce your exposure to harmful substances and give your child a healthy start in life.
There’s no one way to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Still, there are things you can do, like eating right, exercising except as contraindicated by your obstetrician, and taking care of any health issues you might have. Please make your mental health a priority! This is an exciting but potentially stressful time, so take care of yourself, manage stress, and seek help.
Remember, asking for support is okay; your doctor, family, and online birth preparation course can be great resources. So, here’s to a healthy, happy pregnancy and delivery! We wish you all the happiness, love, and good health on your pregnancy journey.