You’ve dreamt about this since you were a child, haven’t you?
You can’t wait to have a baby, and you want to be the best mom ever. But, did you know that a healthy baby starts long before conception? It’s true. Here’s what you need to do to give your baby the best chance possible.
Change Up Your Diet
It all starts with diet. Pregnant women need extra vitamins and minerals to prepare for baby. The usual recommendations are to take a folic acid supplement. But, that may not be enough. A generous multivitamin may be in order.
But, be careful about what you choose. For example, many women who take a folic acid supplement don’t realize that they need more than just folic acid, and the folic acid they’re taking may not be the best form. There’s actually different forms of folic acid, or folate. The most biologically available form is methylated folate — this is what your body uses.
When you take a folic acid supplement, your body needs to convert this to a useable form. If it can’t, it can stay in your system for a while, building up to potentially toxic levels. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat fortified foods or take supplements. You should. There are several different birth defects that are common in pregnant women, many of which include neural tube defects (NTDs).
The neural tube is what the fetus has before it has a brain and spinal column. A defect means that the fetus could be born with anencephaly and spinal bifida, which means part of the brain is missing.
If you’re going to take a supplement, take natural folate, or methylated folate. These will prevent excessive folic acid from building up in your bloodstream, and yet also give you the required folate you need during pregnancy. Speak to a birth injury lawyer if you suspect your doctor is not advising you properly about supplementation.
See Your Healthcare Professional On A Regular Basis
You should make sure that you see your doctor when you plan a pregnancy. Also, start prenatal care as soon as you think you’re pregnant. You should visit your doctor periodically throughout your pregnancy for checkups and to make sure the fetus is developing normally. If you think you are in the “low risk” category, you should consider seeing a midwife instead of heading to the hospital. Find a local midwife and ask for their advice early on to see if you can avoid the hospital scene.
Avoid Junk Food And Harmful Substances
Avoid alcohol, junk food, and chemical exposures during pregnancy. The dangers of smoking are also well-known. You should not smoke during your pregnancy. Stay away from BPA, and other chemicals found in plastics. And, do not expose yourself to any lead, mercury, or other heavy metals.
Watch your intake of certain foods, like fish, which may contain excessive levels of mercury.
Don’t be afraid to exercise. In fact, if you can start on a barbell weightlifting program before you get pregnant, you may be able to continue weightlifting throughout your pregnancy. It will help you get strong, and stay fit. Go for walks daily and stay active. It’s common for women to want to “take it easy” when they’re pregnant, but you should actually get as much exercise as you can.