Pregnancy is a turning point of any woman’s life. The news of pregnancy evokes mixed reactions and the would- be mother is often unsure of herself. Especially, if you are a first time mom to be, then the confusion is natural since you don’t have any prior experience. Well, there is no reason to worry! Before you conceive, it’s good to know a few things to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and have a normal delivery. Learning important things in advance can save you from complications at a later stage.
20 Tips For New-Mom-To-Be:
It is essential to know some basics so that you can be ready when your little bundle of joy finally arrives. It is a mother’s responsibility to take care of her baby’s needs; in fact the baby’s health is directly dependent on the mother’s health throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is vital to closely monitor your health and fetal development. Keep your ob-gyn updated with all the facts related to your health and ask him solutions for any problems you are facing. If you happen to be a first time mom make sure the doctor is friendly, experienced and approachable. Don’t hide any problem like severe abdominal pain or bleeding, try to open up to your doctor and resolve the problem before the situation goes out of hand.
Here we have compiled a set of top 20 tips which we think are best for you to keep in mind before pregnancy.
1. Visit Your Doctor:
It is very important to line up an appointment with an experienced ob-gyn (obstetrics and gynecologist) to get a preconception test done. If it is your family doctor, then she may know your family history, your medical condition and your present medication. Based on these facts, your doctor will suggest necessary blood, urine and other requisite tests to be done before pregnancy.
Many couples have benefited having done their pre pregnancy check-up. Besides, the doctor can also guide you on various aspects of pregnancy and what are the common myths and truths associated. A meeting with your doctor can help you clarify your first inhibitions and may boost your confidence on becoming a mother.
2. Know Your Ovulation Cycle:
A woman’s menstrual cycle is between 28-32 days; sometimes the duration is shorter or longer. Ovulation is actually calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) or by calculating 12-16 days from the next period. Most women ovulate between day 11 and day 21 of their menstrual cycle. It is very important to keep track of your ovulation cycle. If you conceive, the doctor will definitely ask you about the duration of your last menstrual cycle, because the expected due date is calculated on the basis of the last menstrual period (LMP).
There are more chances for you to conceive if you have an intercourse on your most fertile days. Thus, it is necessary to keep a track on when you ovulate.
- The easiest method to find out when you ovulate is by keeping a track of your menstrual cycles.
- If you have a regular menstrual cycle, then keep a track of at least last six cycles.
However, if you are not comfortable with the manual calculation, then you can easily purchase ovulation kits available in the market, which tells about your fertile day based on your urine sample. Nowadays, ‘ovulation calculator’ available on the Internet can track your exact fertile dates; you can utilize them as well.
Sometimes, the ovulation doesn’t happen in the right time. This is the main cause behind infertility. There are many factors that disrupt the normal ovulation cycle. These are:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is a common cause of female infertility. The reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance, this triggers ovarian cyst.There are changes in the pituitary glands, hypothalamus and the ovaries that cause the delay in ovulation.Other than delaying ovulation it also causes abnormal growth of hair in face and neck, insulin resistance and acne.
- Hypothalamic Dysfunction: The pituitary gland secretes two hormones- the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) that is responsible for ovulation every month. Physical and emotional stress, obesity or low body weight can disrupt the hormone flow and pattern. This affects both ovulation and menstrual cycle. This is the main cause behind irregular menstrual cycles.
- Premature Ovarian Insufficiency: This disorder happens due to an autoimmune response, when the body attacks the ovarian tissues by mistake. This naturally leads to loss of eggs. Genetic and environmental factors can also cause ovarian insufficiency. Also with age the amount of estrogen decreases and thus fewer eggs are formed in the ovary.
- Over Secretion of Prolactin: The pituitary gland can cause excess production of prolactin. This condition is called hyperprolactinemia. The over secretion of prolactin disrupts estrogen production and this eventually cause infertility.This problem occurs when the pituitary gland doesn’t function properly.Sometimes, medicines also cause excess of prolactin and cause infertility.
3. Start Consuming Folic Acid:
Doctors usually prescribe folic acid tablets at least three months before conceiving. Folic acid or Folate is found in various fruits, vegetables, cereals, beans, enriched bread products, etc. It primarily helps in the production of red blood corpuscles.
Ideally, consumption of 400 mgs of folic acid is required per day. Intake of folic acid can reduce the chances of birth defect like spina bifida in your baby and also helps in strengthening baby’s spinal muscles.
It is essential to take your prenatal vitamins properly. Also remember to follow your doctor’s advice religiously and not go for self-medication at any cost.
4. Dental Check-Up:
It is vital to consider your oral health before you plan to conceive. When a woman is trying to conceive, a lot of hormonal changes take place in the body and make them more vulnerable to gum diseases. Because of such hormonal reaction, gums may become tender, swollen and red which might bleed when you brush or floss.
If a doctor detected a possibility of heart disease in the patient, he will first refer her to a gum specialist or dentist. If you trace the roots of any chronic health condition like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you will find that bad oral hygiene was the cause of the disease. So when you are pregnant keep a watch on your oral hygiene so that you don’t have to suffer health risk in the future.
Last five to ten years there has been a growing interest regarding the possible links between oral hygiene and body health. Doctors are trying to employ a holistic approach while judging a patient’s health, says a representative of American Dental Association. A recent study also revealed that 40% of those who have poor oral hygiene are bound to develop a chronic condition.
You must be wondering how oral hygiene and gum problems can affect general health. The bacterial buildup in the teeth can affect gums. The immune system comes in and helps to fight the infections and so the gums become inflamed. The inflammation continues unless the infection is controlled. Since, over a period of time inflammation and chemicals released by the infected gums can eat into the bone structure that holds the teeth in place. This result in a severe gum disease called periodontitis. This inflammation causes damage to overall health.
For instance, there is a direct relationship between diabetes and oral hygiene. Inflammation that occurs in the mouth weakens the body’s capacity to control blood sugar. People with diabetes already have a problem processing sugar into energy due to lack of insulin. Periodontitis worsens the condition by impairing the body’s ability to utilize insulin. High blood sugar often causes infections like gum infections.
A study revealed that 91% of those who have periodontitis have heart disease. Those who smoke have unhealthy diet and excess weight are also prone to cardiovascular disease. The inflammation in the mouth due to gum disease can cause inflammation in blood vessels. The inflamed blood vessels allow less blood to reach the heart and the rest of the body. This increases the blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. There are high chances that the fatty plaque will break into the blood vessels and reach to the heart and the brain causing heart attack or stroke.
Babies who are born too early or with low birth weight often have health disorders like lung disease, heart problems and learning disorders. Research shows that the reason behind the premature birth or low birth weight can be periodontitis. Since, inflammation and infection can hinder the fetus’ development in the womb. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy pose an increased risk to develop gum inflammation and infection, which often leads to gum bleeding and pain.
Osteoporosis and periodontitis have one thing in common bone loss. Research points out those women with osteoporosis are more prone to gum disease. Since inflammation in the gum can lead to weakening of bones in other parts of the body.
Periodontitis can worsen pneumonia and other obstructive lung or pulmonary disease by increasing the bacterial content in the lungs. Studies show that by treating periodontitis you can also reduce the chance of rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity also increases the chance of periodontitis. So it is essential to cut down fat and bad habits like smoking. So brush your teeth well, use a dental floss and rinse your mouth well to prevent bacterial contamination and infection.
Thus good dental care is essential to avoid oral complications in the later stage of pregnancy.
5. Bid Adieu to Contraception Pills:
Now you can keep aside your birth control pills. But when you stop taking the pills you should be careful and wait till your first period arrives.
Research has proven that some women become fertile from the first month after they stop consuming contraceptive pills, while some take longer to return to normal cycles. Having reached your normal cycles you should start tracking your menstrual dates. The more track you keep, the more helpful it may be in further analyzing your fertility.
6. Try To Reach Your Ideal Weight:
It is always advisable to reach your ideal weight, i.e. the one which is appropriate as per the BMI. If you are underweight then you should gain some, on the contrary, if you are on the higher side than you should try to reduce excess weight.
However, crash dieting is not suggested for reducing weight. You should seek proper guidance from your doctor or an experienced nutritionist. An ideal BMI range is given between 20 and 24. Anything above or below this range is considered to negatively affect fertility.
7. Know both you and Your Partner’s Family History:
It is necessary to learn yours as well as your spouse’s family medical history. You should definitely know was there any abnormal, genetic or chromosomal defect birth cases in your maiden and existing families.
If you find any such anomaly in the family history, then do consult the same with your doctor. Many complications can be avoided if you become proactive and get the necessary precautions in advance. At the same time you can also find out if you have chances of conceiving twins based on such information.
8. A Healthy Diet is Essential:
When it comes to pre pregnancy diet care, you should always try to make healthy choices for your diet. Start consuming foods that can provide essential nutrition to your body. It is important to make your body ready for pregnancy.
It is a pre-requisite to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium enriched fruits and lots of protein in your daily diet. Over and above this, enough water, consumption is also must. Thus a well-balanced diet will increase your chances of conception and also ensure a healthy baby.
9. Increase Your Nutrition Intake:
Planning a proper diet before pregnancy is very essential. If you are able to understand why particular nutrition is important for your body, then you shall make a proper effort to consume them.
Proteins provide strength to your muscles. Carbohydrates provide you with the required energy in your body to perform tasks. Fats are required to absorb vitamins. But try to avoid trans-fat. Lastly fibers help in proper digestion and avoid constipation. Note down in a place the types of nutrition you need to consume and which food provides those. It will aid you to consume the right nutrition!
10. Exercise Your Body:
If you are already following any exercise regime then it is perfect! But if not, then you should definitely start one. Following fitness routine helps stay healthy during pregnancy. In other way, it can also be a stress buster while you plan your pregnancy.
You can begin with an exercise routine, which increases your flexibility, such as yoga, aerobics or even swimming. If you do not have time for any regime, you can definitely consider walking daily for at least 30 minutes. Moreover, mild and regular exercise is also recommended during pregnancy, so an early start may help you.
Many hospitals and clinics organize prenatal yoga classes and Lamaze session for pregnant women. Since light exercise helps you to stay active. Lamaze is interesting since you can take your spouse along and help him to stay involved during the entire pregnancy and be sensitive to your special needs at this time.
11. Say No to Caffeine:
Though it is debatable whether caffeine should be consumed or not during pregnancy, experts feel expectant mothers as well as women planning to get pregnant should avoid or at least lessen caffeine intake.
Some studies have found that excess caffeine can lead to decreased fertility and higher chances of miscarriage, if consumed in high quantity. It is also suggested not to increase the intake from more than 200 ml in a day.
12. A Complete Ban on Alcohol:
Alcohol is considered to a no-no for women who are trying to conceive. Consumption of alcohol is associated with birth defects, premature deliveries and low weight babies.
There is no safe amount of alcohol suggested for women who are trying to conceive. It is better to completely abstain from consuming alcohol.
13. Consume Fish with Care:
Although fish are considered to be a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein, they have high mercury levels too. Mercury is considered to be harmful for the body and studies conclude that the effects remain in a body up to a year. Fishes like shark, mackerel and swordfish should be completely avoided.
If you are a fish lover, then it’s better to consume low-mercury content fishes while you plan to conceive.
14. Don’t Smoke nor Be a Passive Smoker:
If you are a smoker then you have a lot of disadvantages while you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Firstly, you might take longer to conceive. Secondly, you might have higher chances of miscarriage. Thirdly, there are more chances to have a baby with defects and various other health ailments.
And remember that even passive smoking is equally injurious to health. If anyone in your house smokes, either ask them to quit or make them smoke elsewhere.
15. De-Stress and Be Happy:
With the intention of have a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby, it is pre requisite to lead a stress free and happy life. Sounds book-isisn’t it? But it’s true; a healthy state of mind increases your chances of conceiving faster.
One should try meditation and relaxation techniques to overcome any stress in life. A cheerful environment at home and less hectic working environment can really help to lead a stress-free life.
16. Read and gather information:
Reading always helps! Nowadays you can get a lot of information from the Internet regarding pregnancy, but it is preferable to stock up on well-researched books also. More reading makes you more aware and thereby more confident.
You can also join various forums on social networking sites and share your thoughts. At the same time making friends who are in similar stages of life really helps. You should share necessary information with your partner as well, so that he feels responsible towards you.
17. Prevent Any Kind of Ailments and Infections:
It is very important to be in good health while conceiving. You cannot afford to have any ailments. Following certain hygiene requirements is very important when you are trying to conceive and even during pregnancy.
- You should make sure to wash your hands frequently to keep them properly sanitized.
- Eat foods that do not have the risk of bacterial contamination.
- Undercooked food should be genuinely avoided.
- You should wear gloves while gardening and discarding your garbage bins.
- Another important advice is to get yourself vaccinated against various diseases.
18. Try to be in a Hazard-Free Environment Always:
It might be difficult to prevent all type of environmental risks, but you can always remain alert and ensure maximum possible safety. Many a times, the place where you work can pose potential threat towards your pregnancy. Certain chemicals to which you might be getting exposed may be dangerous for you and your baby.
Besides, the radiation emanating from your mobile and other devices may also be a threat. You can always discuss such issues with your doctor and get proper tips on how to live in and maintain a hazard-free ambience around you.
19. Know the Symptoms of Pregnancy:
Now that you know the pre pregnancy care, it’s also best to understand your pre-symptoms. Normally a missed period, nausea, vomiting, headaches, mood swings, tender breasts and heartburn are common symptoms.
If you still are unable to understand such symptoms then do a quick pregnancy strip test at home with your urine sample. But the best way to confirm pregnancy is to get your blood tested.
20. Check Your Financial Health:
Yes, this tip may not be related to your health, but it definitely may affect your health in the long run. When you are planning your pregnancy, it is also necessary to check your financial status. Raising a child definitely means more expenditure to your family budget. If you have not planned your finances, then please plan now because it might be really difficult to handle financial woes with the growing baby
It is important to know the costs of delivery and treatment at the hospital which you might plan to select. If you have your insurance in place, then do learn in advance what costs they include. And also learn in advance whether the particular hospital that you select is included in the list of the insurance company.
As you can infer from this article, it is not really rocket science! But it does need some discipline and awareness to maintain the few important things when pre pregnancy care is considered. Hope these pre pregnancy tips will help you to feel more informed and ready to get pregnant. Happy family planning!
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