If you are planning on having a baby in 2010, make your number one resolution to improve your health habits now. Many women wait until pregnancy to improve diet and exercise, but you might be surprised to discover that you can improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy by making those changes months before conception.
First, see your doctor or midwife. Most women wait until a home pregnancy or missed period to schedule an appointment, but it's a good idea to see your doctor before conception. You can go over your health history, get up to date on your vaccinations, discuss any prior pregnancy issues, and start taking prenatal vitamins and supplements.
- If you are taking anti-depressants or other regular medication for any reason, you will want to work with your ob/midwife and your specialist to consider going off medication throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Pre-pregnancy weight has been proven to have a direct effect on fertility and fetal health. Overweight women have a harder time conceiving and underweight women have an increased rate of birth defects and fetal growth restriction. If you need to gain or lose weight, start six months before conception.
Change your diet now. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, switch to whole grain products, limit fish products that are high risk for mercury contamination, and cut out high-sugar, refined/bleached flour, and limit as many pre-packaged and fast food products as possible. Remember that chocolate in moderation is never off limits (unless you are allergic!)
You might already have made the resolution to quit smoking, drinking, and caffeine, but attacking this triple threat in preparation for pregnancy now will make it easier to completely eliminate those habits once you are pregnant.
- You've read the Surgeon General's warnings that smoking and drinking can cause devastating birth defects and pregnancy complications, but did you know that they can also affect your ability to conceive? Quit now and it will be easier to maintain a drug-free lifestyle once your baby is born.
Start engaging in pregnancy-friendly exercise that you can keep doing right up until the Big Day - yoga, pilates, walking, swimming, dancing, moderate strength training, and moderate aerobics are all good bets to get you in shape.
Getting pregnant in 2010 is an exciting prospect. By using the New Year as a catalyst for making improvements to your health before conception, you will be giving you and your baby the best possible start in life.
Happy New Year!