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Get your body in pregnancy-ready shape


Photographer: Alison Ciaccio

Your body is your temple and when you are getting ready for pregnancy, you need to make sure it's not just a weekend bungalow but a palace in the making.

For some women finding out they are pregnant comes as a surprise but for others planning is a key ingredient. So if you can plan it out, get ready to make some changes!

Diet change
Avoid the junk food and get some real nutrients in your body. Green is the new black and that goes for veggies as well.According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), a nonprofit organization that promotes reproductive health, prospective parents should begin making healthy changes from three months to a year before conceiving. But if you are closer than you think, start now - you have nothing to lose!

Photographer: Michelle Meiklejohn

Cut down or completely end  your alcohol and tobacco use, in other words, slow down the partying. Limiting your caffeine intake is suggested as well.

 It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate), because research has shown that more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon the body's ability to absorb iron and calcium.  -The APA

Increase your vitamin intake and make sure it's a quality brand. Taking food-based vitamins, like Standard Process,  will be absorbed naturally by your body. This means you are less likely to eliminate your vitamin in your urine. For women, the U.S. Public Health Service recommends that they take 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid each day along with at least 1,000 mgs of calcium. There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc impede upon both male and female fertility. Maintaining the recommended dietary allowance of zinc of 15 mg a day will aid your reproduction system in functioning properly.

Another supplement of utmost importance for all men and women is Omega-3 fatty acids. According to the APA, scientific research confirms the importance of essential fatty acids for prenatal, maternal and neonatal health. .Pregnant and nursing women need a minimum of 300 mg of DHA daily to ensure healthy development of their child.

Photographer: Andy Newson

Get your  heart rate moving and get to a healthy weight. Studies have shown that exercising before and during pregnancy lessens complications and leads to an easier delivery. If you get those abs in shape now when it comes time to push - you will be A-OK!

If you're overweight, your risk during pregnancy is higher for things such as high blood pressure and diabetes. You may also be less comfortable during pregnancy, and your labor may be longer. If necessary, use the time before getting pregnant to lose extra weight, says

Dr. Alice Domar, researcher at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study that took infertile women (those who had been trying to get pregnant for at least a year) and put some of them into a 10-week mind/body program that included yoga, meditation, nutrition and exercise information and help to change negative thought patterns. Fifty-five percent of participants in this program became pregnant within the next year, compared to 20 percent of women in a control group.

Dr. Domar, who uses this mind/body approach to treat women attending Boston IVF, the biggest infertility treatment center in the country, says that yoga is an invaluable asset in her program.

For more information on pre-pregnancy and pregnancy health please visit: American Pregnancy Association

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