If you are pregnant (prenatal), or you are “PRE-prenatal” – that is, thinking about getting pregnant – focusing on your health can help you grow a healthy baby. Just like the flight attendant instructs, “…place your own oxygen mask on your face before assisting others…” In other words, make sure that your own health is excellent before trying to make a healthy baby.
PRE-Prenatal: Planning Your Healthy Pregnancy
Before planning your pregnancy, you should see your doctor. Discuss any medical conditions that might affect your pregnancy. And once you are pregnant, return for regular prenatal visits to stay healthy and prevent complications. These visits will not only monitor your health, but make sure that your baby is growing and developing normally.
In addition to keeping yourself healthy, you will have the challenge of avoiding a world of toxins that can affect your developing baby. Harmful substances that you consume during pregnancy can be passed on to your baby. If you smoke tobacco… You. MUST. Stop!
Toxins in tobacco can contribute to:
- low birth weight;
- premature birth; and
- birth defects.
If you need help quitting, ask your doctor.
Pregnant women and babies are also more likely to get infections, such as whooping cough, or the common flu. Help reduce your risks by:
- washing your hands often;
- avoid people who are sick;
- get the flu vaccination;
- keep all your vaccinations up to date.
If you’re pregnant and are now struggling with a stuffy nose (and this is new for you), you probably do NOT have allergies. More likely, you have Rhinitis of Pregnancy. Be sure to check out the articles here to help you breath normally again!
CDC Prenatal Recommendations
The CDC recommends a flu shot and a whooping cough vaccination (TDAP: tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) with each pregnancy. The perfect time for this vaccination is between the 27th and 36th week of pregnancy – that maximizes protection from whooping cough, and transmitting it to your newborn. Whooping cough can be fatal for a newborn!
The CDC also recommends immunization against flu and whooping cough for your spouse, your other children, grandparents, and other potential caregivers for your baby. These vaccines are covered by most insurance plans.
Maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle is important for development of your baby. Eat a well-balanced diet. Provide the best possible nutrition for your growing bundle of joy! Be sure to include a daily prenatal multivitamin in your health regimen. According to the CDC, that prenatal vitamin should have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid (folate) to help prevent brain and spinal cord birth defects.
Your doctor may also recommend regular exercise, such as daily yoga sessions. Exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight, and help you avoid gestational diabetes. Be sure to ask your doctor for their recommended prenatal exercise program.
Finally…congratulations. Growing a family can be scary. But you can optimize your health, and that of your baby by following these simple steps outlined here. Thank you so much for visiting, and best success!