Preparing For Pregnancy

The need of planning before getting pregnant cannot be emphasised much. Better planning pays off in terms of the health of your baby. There are no foolproof methods for having a hearty pregnant phase but many things can be done to improve the chances of a good outcome. Scheming the pregnancy helps you to conceive more easily, have a healthier pregnancy, avoid or minimize pregnancy complications, recover more quickly after giving birth and minimizing your child’s risk of future adult health problems. Planning for the pregnancy involves getting your body ready, taking nutrition for fertility, being fit, being emotionally suffice, happy relationships, manageable finances and lots of sex. Getting started for the pregnancy involves right time to have sex- it is when you are ovulating. There are certain things you can do before trying to have a baby. Read our articles to know everything about how to prepare for pregnancy.

What is Pregnancy Planning?

According to Dr. Deepika Aggarwal who is Lead Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, a lot of people do not even know that that pregnancy planning is important. This helps in ruling out the possible complications that one might have in conception. A majority of the people start planning after conception or after they come to know about their pregnancy. Preparing a pregnancy plan helps in ensuring that your baby will be born with its best health. Find below some important factors that should be involved in pregnancy planning.

Couples must discuss about their health issues, weight, etc. before planning pregnancy. They must get certain tests like HIV, hepatitis, etc. done to see if one of them has anything. Post that, speak to your doctor to understand how you can take things ahead and plan the pregnancy. Apart from that nutrition, weight, exercise, medications, alcoholism, etc. should also be considered.

People who are trying to conceive for a longer time but aren’t getting any success must undergo fertility tests. This helps in checking if there is any internal issue that is affecting fertility of the person. You can consult a fertility specialist for this.

Understand ovulation cycle when you are ready to become pregnant. Knowing the days when the woman is ovulating and making relations during those days increase the chances of conception.

Besides, you must also get genetic screening done, if possible for you. This helps in checking the possible genetic diseases that can get inherited in your child.

Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is very important to protect the health of your baby. If you think that you are pregnant, the first thing you should do is speak to your doctor. The doctor will do your pregnancy test, and find out how many weeks pregnant you are on the physical exam and the date of your last periods. The doctor will use this information to predict your delivery date. If you are healthy and don't have any complex risk factors, your doctor will likely call you for a checkup every few months. Prenatal care is important as it helps in maintaining healthy pregnancy. Here are some tips for prenatal care:

Prenatal care helps reduce the risk during pregnancy and increases the chances of a safe and healthy delivery. Mothers who lack prenatal care may have low birth weight babies. The expectant mother should keep these things in mind during this period.

Consume Iron-rich foods- Pregnant women need about 30 milligrams of iron each day. Because the body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. Red blood cells travel throughout the body to deliver oxygen to all cells. Without enough iron, the body can't make enough red blood cells and the body's tissues and organs can't get oxygen, which can hinder the baby's growth. So include iron-rich things in your diet such as red meat, salmon, eggs, Tofu, Cereals, Dried beans and peas, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, to name but a few.

Take folic acid supplements daily (400 to 800 micrograms)

Exercise is important- Do 150 minutes of aerobic exercise in prenatal care. If you were very active or did intense aerobic activities before becoming pregnant, you may be able to keep up with your workout, but you should also talk to your doctor about this. Also, it is beneficial to you in many ways including:

  • Prevents excess weight gain
  • Reduces pregnancy-related problems, such as back pain, bloating and constipation
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases energy
  • Betters mood
  • Prepares the body for labour.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Take healthy diet and also drink a lot of water

Pre-pregnancy nutrition

Eating healthy and balanced diet is important for one and all but women who are planning pregnancy must take good care of their diet. Nutrition is a crucial step in planning and maintaining pregnancy. Eating well-balanced diet with essential vitamins and nutrients in the food should be managed. Generally, women should start consuming extra calories while planning to help the body develop foetus and hold the baby. A nutritious diet is important in sustaining pregnancy without hampering the overall health.

Here are food groups that should be consumed in the prenatal period.

Grains- Cereal grains such as rice, wheat, barley, oats, cornmeal, etc. are grains. You must consume foods that have these grains. In addition to this, consuming foods with whole grains such as brown rice, whole-wheat and oatmeal is also suggested.

Vegetables- When planning a pregnancy, you should include a lot of vegetables to your diet. Make your plate colourful by adding veggies of different colours such as orange, green, purple, red, etc. Eating fresh vegetables is better over canned or frozen ones but you can consider them if they are not available in their fresh form.

Fruits- Consuming fresh fruits especially seasonal fruits are great for holistic health. These are loaded with essential nutrients that help in securing health. Avoid canned or packaged fruits as these may contain preservatives which are catastrophic for health.

Dairy-Consuming dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. are some dairy foods that high in calcium. These promote bone health and help in strengthening bones that help in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Protein-rich foods: Consuming protein foods such as beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, meat and poultry are good for health. Thus, you must have protein daily.

Apart from these food groups, you must also have the below-mentioned nutrients to your diet.

Folic acid- If you have conceived, you must have folic acid daily, without a fail. The reason being folic acid reduces the risk of several common birth defects in the child including neural and cognitive birth defects. The reason why folic acid holds a special place in prenatal nutrition is because many women do not get to know about their pregnancy in the first month. The risk of birth defects arises in the first month and to counter that, the female body should have sufficient amount of folic acid.

Calcium- Healthy bones make for a healthy pregnancy and a stronger woman. Since the baby in the womb draws nutrients from the mother, it can cause calcium deficiency in the mother’s body which can leads to osteoporosis later in life. Thus, consuming calcium-rich foods is a must.