Is Your Body Ready for a Baby?
The candles are lit, the chocolate is wrapped and reservations to your favorite restaurant are made.
It's the perfect recipe for a romantic evening, especially for those who are hoping the perfect evening will result in conception.
As important it is to prepare for a romantic evening with your partner, ensuring your body is prepared for an anticipated pregnancy is essential.
Research has shown that the food we eat, the environment we live in and the lifestyle we lead in the months before conception can have significant effects on the health and well-being of a baby.
“The better women take care of their bodies before getting pregnant, the better chance they have at preventing a miscarriage, stillbirth, premature births and congenital birth defects,” says Dr. Lori Hollins, Director of the MetroHealth Fertility Clinic. “In fact, the healthier couples live can increase chances of fertility even for those who have had difficulty conceiving on their own in the past.”
Furthermore, healthy pre-conception care can also allow women to recover more quickly after birth and decrease your child’s risk for certain adult health problems in the future.
There are many things women and couples can do to enhance their overall physical health before pregnancy, which is most crucial six to 12 months before conception.
Dr. Hollins stresses the importance of the following preconception health tips:
- Take a daily prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid
- Make a pre-conception visit with your doctor to discuss medical history, family history, medications and risk factors that might interfere with pregnancy and things you can do to reduce risks
- Keep track of menstrual periods
- Eat a healthy diet including foods rich in antioxidants, calcium, protein and Vitamin D
- Maintain a healthy weight. If underweight, gain to reduce risks of low birth weight in babies, still birth and miscarriage. If overweight or obese, lose weight before conception to reduce risks of miscarriage, birth defects, and pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and still birth
- Stop smoking
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Evaluate your home and work environment and diet (for partner as well) for toxic exposures (lead, mercury, BPA) and minimize these
- Get enough sleep (7 to 8 hours per night)
- Moderate exercise 150 minutes per week
- For your significant other, also important to avoid smoking, decrease alcohol and maintain a healthy diet. Paternal overweight can affect sperm count.
- Evaluate insurance coverage and maternity leave benefits from place of employment
These easy preconception health tips can make all the difference for a happy and healthy pregnancy.
For couples who have tried to get pregnant for six months or longer, talk to your OB/GYN about consulting with a fertility expert. Proper diagnosis is key to any potential fertility issues.
|About the Expert
Lori Hollins, MD
Specialty Interests: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Gynecology
Areas of Interest: Infertility, Ovulation, Induction, Recurrent Miscarriage, Premature Ovarian Failure, Hysteroscopic Surgery, Menopause, Laparoscopic Surgery
Learn more about Dr. Lori Hollins