If you are thinking about becoming pregnant anytime soon, the chances are that you and your partner have been discussing the joys of parenthood for a while. For months you might have been weighing up the pros and cons of whether this is the right time to welcome a new addition into your family unit. As a couple life is simple and less burdensome. You only have one another to look out for, your social calendar can be as jam packed as you like and you have money and free time to do with as you please.
Parenthood changes all of this and dramatically. No longer can you venture out at the weekend to see the latest blockbuster, your friends that remain childless may morph into the background, and your house may never be as tidy as you want ever again. However, the sheer joy of becoming a new mom can outweigh all of these negative aspects. Bringing a new human being into the world is incredible in every sense of the word.
Now that you have taken the decision to become parents, you are probably panicking about how to give your little one the best start in life. You might be considering diets, bedtime routines and nursery places. However, before you consider all of the aspects of your little one’s life once he or she has been born, think about what you can do now. Giving your child the best start in life starts with you, before you have even gotten pregnant. Take a look at what you can do to ensure that your baby has the best start in life before they are even born.
To prevent low birth weight, it’s important that you eat enough calories to fulfill both your baby’s needs and your own. While the old adage of eating for two makes many pregnant women feel like they can gorge on whatever morsels take their fancy, in reality you only need to consume a couple of hundred extra calories a day. By eating over and above your calorie requirements, you are putting undue stress on your joints and muscles as your pregnancy weight needlessly increases. Being pregnant can result in cravings, and these can be unhealthy or odd. Pickles dipped in melted chocolate anyone?
Be sensible and try to eat the rainbow. Have an array of fresh fruit and vegetables every day to give you much needed boosts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Don’t go for the fatty fried food and opt for lean meats, fish and tofu protein sources instead. By cutting out the fat and sugar and refined carbohydrates, you can maintain a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy.
You can also partake in some light exercise to maintain your levels of fitness when pregnant. While you might not be running a marathon, some walks and time outside will boost your energy levels.
There are some foods that you should steer clear of when pregnant. Never eat raw fish, don’t go for a prepackaged sandwich, and steer clear of unpasteurized and soft cheeses. While safe to eat normally, the slightly elevated risk of food poisoning can be harmful to both you and baby. Raw eggs aren’t worth the risk either so consider this when reaching for the mayonnaise for your egg and cress sandwich.
While everyone knows that they should be drinking a couple of liters of water a day, this is even more crucial when pregnant. You can read these 5 tips for drinking all the water you need while pregnant to help you fulfill this quota. Being dehydrated will leave you feeling light headed, restless, fatigued and headachey. This is not healthy at the best of times, but is even more concerning when pregnant. You must maintain your eight cups of the good stuff a day, whether this is juice, hot beverages or good old tap water. Fluid intake needs to be kept high to maintain a healthy body.
Go To The Doctor
Don’t forget to attend every scheduled appointment you have with your doctor or obstetrician. It’s crucial that you and baby are monitored throughout your pregnancy. Scans will help inform medical professionals of the conception date and your due date. Doctors will be able to monitor the size, growth rate and general health of your unborn child. Health defects can be discovered when monitored, and your health will also be a primary concern of your obstetrician. Some women develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This isn’t your fault, but should be monitored and treated by a professional.
Nowadays, you can even pay to have a wonderful 4D baby scan. This more detailed image of your unborn little one will show his or her face in minute detail giving you a real glimpse of your baby before he or she is even welcomed into the world.
Don’t Smoke Or Drink
Forget about what your friends may tell you, drinking or smoking any amount during pregnancy is doing harm to your baby. Smoking one cigarette will result in your child being exposed to nicotine. In the very worst cases, smoking mothers have been known to pass on this addiction to their child, only for them to be born and have to go through withdrawal. This is the same for alcohol and drug dependent mothers as well.
Even if you smoke or drink socially, put a ban on it for the nine months while you are pregnant. You don’t want your baby to be born underweight, deaf, blind or with a cognitive impairment. The onus is on you to look after your body while pregnant to give your baby the best start in life.
It’s vital that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need when pregnant. A couple of these need to be taken via a tablet, as you simply cannot get enough through your diet alone. Folic acid helps lower the chances of miscarriage, so ensure that you eat folic acid rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, fortified breads and kidney beans. Also take a daily multivitamin and folic acid capsule to get the extra amount needed when pregnant.
Vitamins help maintain your body’s balance, will heighten your immune system and prevent you from feeling sluggish or under the weather.
Maintaining a good bedtime routine is key if you are to receive the rest required for you and baby. It’s vital to try and get eight hours sleep every night, whether you are an early bird or a night owl. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it more difficult to find a comfortable position as your little one gets larger. Backache and needing to pee a lot are not uncommon. Use pillows to support and sleep more upright if necessary. If you are comfortable on your side, try and sleep on your left as this improves the blood supply to your little bundle of joy.
Preparing for pregnancy and then birth can feel like a mission. You might be trying to plot out your menstrual cycles, take your body temperature every morning and working out when the best time is for conception. However, babies often don’t run like clockwork. You may want a winter baby, and you can try to plan, but little ones have a habit of coming along when you least expect them to. The most important thing is that you prepare well. By following this guide, you can maintain your health and fitness. Use your common sense, stay active, eat well, sleep plenty and stay hydrated. This is key to give your baby the very best start in life.