Most people think of the pregnancy journey as being only nine months long. But really, the journey begins in the months leading up to conception. To create a healthy home for your developing baby, consider doing the following:
To help support a healthy pregnancy and delivery, it’s important to be fit. Certain exercises can even help with posture and breathing during labor. If you already have a workout routine—great. Run it by your doctor to make sure it’s safe to continue during pregnancy. If not, consider engaging in activities like:
As always, be sure to clear all of your exercise plans and goals with your doctor.
Be sure to maintain a diet that is balanced and nutrient-rich. Some do’s and don’ts to consider:
- Eat a lot of greens! They contain folate, an important B vitamin that helps in the development of a healthy fetus.
- Try: kale, spinach and chard
- Drink milk since the calcium it provides will help your baby’s developing skeleton grow strong.
- If you’re lactose intolerant, try broccoli and legumes which are also high in calcium.
- But, be sure to AVOID non-pasteurized milk and cheese, as well as processed meats. Consuming these foods can lead to a bacterial infection called listeria, which has been linked to miscarriage and other harmful infections.
- Specifically avoid unpasteurized soft cheese such as brie, feta, blue cheese, non-pasteurized milk, deli meats and hot dogs.
- Avoid alcohol! Alcohol is known to lead to mental and physical birth defects, so it’s best to stop drinking when you are trying to conceive.
- Dig in to berries. They’ve got important phytonutrients to help fight disease and they’re packed with vitamin C.
- Get into yogurt, but make sure the label says that it contains “live active cultures.” That means it contains the probiotics you need to boost your immune system.
- Stay clear of fish that are high in mercury. The United States Environmental Protection Agency warns that women who are trying to conceive should be aware that high mercury levels might be harmful to your unborn baby.
- Avoid: King Mackerel, tilefish, shark, and swordfish
- Acceptable: Up to 12 ounces a week of low mercury fish like wild salmon and tilapia
- Make sure you get enough iron. Red meats are a great source of iron. Just be sure that they are cooked properly to avoid infection.
- Try lean meats like grass-fed beef or lean buffalo. Vegetarians can try options such as squash and nuts.
- Stop taking any form of birth control so your hormone levels can get back to normal. Then monitor your period and determine your ovulation cycle, which may have changed while you were taking birth control. Speak to your doctor to determine when you should stop taking it.
- Quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy not only leaves your baby susceptible to dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine, but it can also decrease the amount of oxygen that gets to your baby. In addition, your baby’s lungs can also be damaged if you smoke.
- Begin taking folic acid so that you can properly support your fetus’ development.
- Consult your doctor about a prenatal multivitamin that would suit your needs.
- Cut down on excessive caffeine. Make sure you stay under 200 mg per day (one 12-ounce cup). For more tips click here: Planning for Pregnancy