Pregnancy is like a journey, and just like any journey, a little preparation will go a long way!
Imagine setting off on holiday without giving your clothing, where you are staying, and travel arrangements any proper thought. Sometimes leaving everything to chance can be fun, exciting and a bit of a thrill, but in most cases lack of preparation ends up causing more anxiety and concerns than necessary.
Believe it or not, waiting until you and your partner become pregnant to prepare for parenthood may be waiting too long. By the time a woman suspects she is pregnant, the baby's early stages of growth have already begun, making this a particularly vulnerable period for the baby.. During the first trimester of pregnancy a baby develops faster than at any other time in its life. The health habits of both parents can affect the odds of having a healthy baby, a child with birth defects or childhood diseases or a miscarriage. Couples planning to become parents should make health and lifestyle changes at least six months to a year before starting a family.
Enjoying a healthy diet and lifestyle for 3 - 6 months before becoming pregnant will improve your mental and physical health, which will benefit both you and your baby when you conceive.
To have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, both of you should be sure to:
•Eat a well-balanced diet. Include 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Folic acid is found in dark green, leafy vegetables, orange juice and broccoli. Men should add 12 to 15 milligrams of zinc and vitamins C and E to their diets. Zinc is found in extra lean ground beef, baked beans and in dark chicken meat.
•Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs. Limit caffeine.
•If you work around toxic chemicals or materials, wash your hands often. Get information on any chemicals at your worksite and don't wash soiled clothing at home. If possible, change clothes at work.
•Make sure you have proper vaccinations before you get pregnant especially for rubella.
•Develop a strong and healthy relationship with your partner. If necessary, work on family tension, stress or domestic violence with a therapist before you decide to have a baby. Remember that having a baby will not fix your relationship with your partner.
•Make sure you both feel ready to have a baby - whether your baby is planned or unplanned, every child deserves to be wanted and loved unconditionally.
Pregnancy can be a magical time for some and a worrying time for others. Giving a little thought to certain areas in your life will increase your likelihood of falling pregnant, and when you do, you are more likely to be able to relax and enjoy a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn.