Congratulations, you’ve decided the time is right to become a mom. To get your body ready for conception, the experts at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville offer the following 10 tips to help prepare your body for pregnancy. Following these lifestyle steps will help minimize risks and help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
1) Eat a clean, healthy diet
On the menu: lean proteins, a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Also, include plenty of calcium-rich foods, including low-fat milk and cheese, calcium-fortified orange juice and yogurt. Simultaneously, avoid foods that contain excessive sugar, or are processed.
2) Add a regular prenatal vitamin to your day
Even when following a healthy diet, nutritional gaps occur. Even if you’re not yet pregnant, it’s a good idea to get the sufficient nutrients to support a healthy fetus. Prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid you need to help prevent neural tube defects, as well as other possible complications. We can also suggest a prenatal vitamin that offers the optimal amounts of other nutrients, such as iron and potassium.
3) Quit smoking
Smoking isn’t good for anyone’s health, and if you’re looking to get pregnant, it’s an extra hazard. Smoking increases your risk of miscarriage and premature birth. Smoking can also diminish your fertility and make it difficult to get pregnant.
4) Limit alcohol intake
Limit your intake of alcohol. You don't have to abstain entirely before you are pregnant. But now isn’t the time to party like a rockstar. Once you do become pregnant, halt drinking altogether; even small amounts of alcohol may have unwanted impacts on an unborn child.
5) Reach a healthy weight
Being overweight or underweight seriously affects your fertility. An unhealthy weight also increases your risk of developing complications during your pregnancy. Those who are overweight are at a higher risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. Being underweight ups your risk of miscarriage and of having an underweight baby.
6) Get physical
Women who are fit and active are better prepared for the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth than those who are sedentary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days to develop stamina and good health. Moderate-intensity exercise is equal to a brisk walk or a water aerobics class. If you already live an active lifestyle, ask us if you need to make any modifications when you become pregnant.
7) Know your family history
Let your physician know if you have a family history of any medical conditions, including a heart defect or developmental disability. Both parents' family history is important and may lead to the recommendation that you get genetic counseling.
8) Limit caffeine
It’s recommended that you limit your intake. Consider cutting back to about 200 milligrams per day, the amount in one cup of coffee, just to be on the safe side. Some studies link excessive amounts of caffeine with an increased risk of miscarriage.
9) Keep your immune system on alert
As best you can, avoid close contact with anyone suffering from a cold or flu. Also, avoid unpasteurized cheese, deli meats, or juices as well as undercooked eggs and chicken – all of these increase or risk of developing a foodborne illness. If you have a cat, get someone else to change the litter to reduce your risk of exposure to toxoplasmosis. And, get a flu shot if you’re trying to conceive in flu season.
10) Minimize environmental risks
Avoid your exposure to hazardous chemicals or radiation, at home and at your workplace. You may also want to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products, pesticides, and craft
supplies. It may not be possible to avoid all environmental dangers, but consult our office to learn how you can reduce your exposure.
We at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville want you to have the best possible pregnancy experience and of course delivery a happy, thriving infant. For all your obstetrics needs, call our office or schedule an appointment using the online tool.