Pregnancy is not Without Risks
Despite advances in modern medicine, pregnancy is not without its risks. A careful study of your lifestyle, financial security, relationship stability and possibly your work situation are all items that need to be considered prior to becoming pregnant. There are, however, other things that you should do once the decision to get pregnant has been made, but before conception. The following is a list of 10 things that you should mark off of your preconception checklist prior to becoming pregnant.
- Start taking folic acid now. Taking a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid well before becoming pregnant can help establish ideal levels of folic acid in your body. Having sufficient folic acid can aid in the spine and brain development. Foods such as beans, leafy greens, orange juice and some breakfast cereals all have folic acid in them.
- Get a medical check up before conceiving. Your doctor can check your thyroid, blood pressure and blood sugar levels to make sure that there are no existing problems prior to becoming pregnant. Your doctor will advise you on what sort of tests should be done, according to your own health record.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can add additional complications to any pregnancy. If you are overweight, losing it prior to becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for both your health and the health of the baby.
- Limit your caffeine. No caffeine during pregnancy is the safest, but most doctors will agree that moderate amounts should be fine. Start cutting back on your caffeine before becoming pregnant so that you don’t have to suddenly stop your caffeine intake.
- Stop smoking. Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of a low birth-weight baby, or one born prematurely. Studies have also shown smoking while pregnant can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and other complications while pregnant. Also, avoid second-hand smoke.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol before pregnancy can make conceiving more difficult. Drinking while pregnant can increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, heart defects, low-birth weight, and a variety of other complications.
- Avoid drug use. Taking non-prescription drugs, or even abusing prescription drugs while pregnant, can result in myriad complications with both the pregnancy and the baby. Miscarriage, preterm labor, babies born addicted and more, can all be the result of drug abuse while pregnant.
- Reduce your stress. This might be easier said than done, but stress can have many adverse affects on both your pregnancy and your baby’s development.
- Stay healthy. Avoiding sickness and infection prior to pregnancy can go a long way to ensuring a healthy start to your pregnancy.
- Stay active. Exercising before pregnancy can help you stay fit and healthy. Exercise during pregnancy can reduce labor time and pain, reduce stress and help you maintain an ideal weight gain.
The key to giving your pregnancy and your baby the best possible chance at optimal health, is by being prepared. Take the time to get your lifestyle and your body prepared for a new baby; you might find that you enjoy pregnancy so much more if you’re not dealing with complications you could have avoided.
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