Pregnancy is a very situation where mothers have to be careful about what they eat and do. But this doesn’t mean they avoid everything. When thinking about getting pregnant and welcoming a newborn into your life, it is crucial to visit the doctor to have a full physical check-up and advice on preconception care. Consulting with your doctor helps you prepare yourself and your body better for pregnancy. 

To know more, TC46 connected with  Dr Sonam Baxi, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Indore. Here she shares 10 ways to prepare your body for pregnancy and also shares a 1-month pregnancy plan. 

1. Preconception care is an important step towards planning a smooth pregnancy

It is never too early to start preparing for pregnancy whether you are trying to have a baby or just thinking about it. Preconception health and health care focus on things you can do to improve your chances of having a healthy baby before and during pregnancy. Preconception care is an important step towards planning a smooth pregnancy. The decision to have a baby and nurture a life inside you is a big one and involves a lot of thought and planning. 

2. Stop birth control pills and start taking multi-vitamins 

If you want to start a family, you will need to stop using any birth control pills that you are currently using. Some kinds of contraception, such as birth control pills, can cause you to become pregnant right away if you stop using them. In fact, many women experience their first period just two weeks after stopping taking the pill.

The food stores of the body are depleted during pregnancy. To fill any gaps, give yourself a boost by taking a multivitamin. Prenatal vitamins, on the other hand, are specially formulated to provide your body with the nutrients it requires during pregnancy.

Having yearly physicals will allow you to catch health problems before they become serious. They are particularly important when you are preparing for pregnancy. Your doctor will assess you and may order blood tests to check your cholesterol levels and other factors. You may also discuss any other health issues you may have during this visit. Women planning to conceive will be advised to start taking folic acid supplements to prevent brain and nerve-related disorders in the baby. The doctor will check on the diet and lifestyle, any habits that need to be changed, ask about past illnesses or surgeries, any illnesses running in the family and then check the weight of the woman.  

3. Your body and menstrual cycle will need time to adjust

Some drugs have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects and other issues. However, there are times when stopping a medication (such as one that controls seizures) poses a greater risk to the mother and her baby than continuing to take it. If you are thinking about having a baby or are already pregnant, talk to your doctor or midwife about any medications you are taking. Over-the-counter medications should be taken after consulting your doctor. 

Your body and menstrual cycle will need time to adjust after you stop taking birth control, just as they did when you first started taking it. You may experience spotting or bleeding in between periods, and your periods may become irregular for a few months. 

4. Folic acid vitamins are trusted to reduce the risk of birth defects

Folic acid is good for pregnant women. Take a vitamin and mineral supplement with at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid per day 400 micrograms. Folic acid is trusted to be able to reduce the risk of birth defects if any, especially problems with the baby’s spine. Start taking a folic acid-rich vitamin before you try to conceive.

5. Consult with your doctor about pre-pregnancy physical checkups 

Your doctor may want to start a pre-pregnancy checkup by gathering all of your and your partner’s medical information. They may also order a series of tests, such as blood tests and a Pap smear, to ensure that neither of you has any medical conditions that may interfere with pregnancy or your chances of conception. Your doctor may run tests to see if you have any of the following illnesses:

  • Rubella antibody tests
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) 
  • Thyroid problems (with a TSH test)
  • Other diseases include toxoplasmosis and parvovirus B19 (also called the fifth disease)
  • Prolactin levels

6. Choose safe & low-impact exercises like walking or cycling

During pregnancy, most women should gain between 25 and 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kilograms). During the first trimester, most women gain 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kilogram), then 1 pound (0.5 kilograms) per week for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Most exercises are safe to do while pregnant if you exercise with caution and do not overdo it. Swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary bicycling, and low-impact aerobics are the safest and most productive activities (taught by certified aerobics instructors).

7. Follow dietary do’s & don’ts to ensure a healthy pregnancy 

The mother’s diet must be balanced and nutritious for a healthy pregnancy, which includes the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as eating a wide variety of plants such as vegetables and fruits.

During pregnancy, it is best to stay away from the following foods:

  • Mercury should be avoided or kept to a minimum in certain kinds of fish, such as shark, swordfish, and marlin.
  • Meat that is uncooked or partially cooked should be avoided; it should be fully cooked. Uncooked shellfish may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses, resulting in food poisoning. Bacteria and viruses can also pass through the placenta and cause damage to the infant.
  • Raw eggs, as well as any meals containing raw or partially cooked eggs. To prevent salmonella infection, eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
  • Ready-to-eat meals that are uncooked or undercooked – it is critical that ready-to-eat meals are fully cooked until they are piping hot. Listeriosis, as well as infection from other bacteria, is a possibility.

8. Avoid high-risk labour that could induce complications

Certain working conditions, particularly if you are at high risk of preterm labour, may increase your risk of complications during pregnancy, including:

  • Harmful substance exposure
  • Long periods of standing
  • Performing strenuous lifting, climbing, or carrying
  • A lot of noise
  • Vibrations from heavy machines, for example, are very strong.
  • Extremely high or low temperatures

If you have any concerns about any of these topics, speak with your doctor. You and your partner will decide whether you need to take extra precautions or change your work duties while you are pregnant.

9. Consult with your doctor for a 1-month pregnancy plan

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, schedule a preconception consultation with your doctor. They will give you specialist advice on how to plan your pregnancy.

1. Increase folic acid in your diet

If you and your partner want to start a family, you should start taking a folic and iodine supplement as soon as possible. Folic acid is a nutrient that aids in the development of your baby’s health. Taking folic acid daily before and during pregnancy helps to prevent neural tube defects in your infant, such as spina bifida. Iodine is essential for the brain development of a newborn.

2. Eating healthy and keeping a close eye on what you eat

If you and your partner are planning to become parents, look at your diet to see where you can make healthier food choices. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will improve your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.

3. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited

Because there is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, the safest choice for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy is to avoid it altogether. Alcohol may have a long-term impact on the health and growth of an unborn child.

4. Curb your tobacco use

Quitting smoking before becoming pregnant is the single most effective way to protect your baby and yourself from serious pregnancy complications. Learn how tobacco can affect you and your partner’s fertility here

5. Regular exercise routine

It is critical to keep your weight under control and thus any form of exercise is imperative for maintaining a healthy BMI.

10. Signs That Might Indicate A Pregnancy

The following are some of the most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

  • Your period was skipped. If you are in your childbearing years and your menstrual cycle has not started after a week or more, you may be pregnant. However, if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, this symptom may be deceiving
  • Breasts that are tender and swollen. Hormonal changes early in pregnancy can make your breasts sensitive and sore. As your body responds to hormonal changes, the pain should subside after a few weeks
  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Some women, on the other hand, experience nausea sooner, while others never do. While the exact cause of nausea during pregnancy is unknown, pregnancy hormones are most likely to blame
  • Fatigue is a common occurrence. Fatigue is also one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms
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