Preparing for Pregnancy: Health for Women

All prospective parents want to know everything about being healthy and for having a healthy baby before conceiving. Women should prepare their bodies before getting pregnant, during and after. It is a natural process, but it takes some preparation and some life changes. Once the body is healthy, the baby will be born healthy, with no complications and no problems. It is essential that both parents are in optimum health before getting pregnant. The mother has to follow a nutritional program, to be in good shape, not to be overweight or underweight and to avoid certain foods and activities. Diet has a direct affect on the reproductive efficiency and it goes in both ways, for men and women likewise.

The bodies should be prepared before pregnancy and this would be ideal. Women should assure they go through a proper diet, with the needed vitamins and proteins. The need for a good nutrition will be spotted in pregnancy and when it is time for breastfeeding. More than that, prenatal vitamins should be taken. Specialists recommend a dosage of 800-1000 mcg of folic acid per day in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects that the baby can suffer. Supplements with folic acids should be taken prior to conceiving. This is because many women do not know they are pregnant, only after a few weeks, and by this time, the neural tube is already developed. In a woman’s life, pregnancy is one of the most demanding periods and it requires a proper nutrition. It is needed to support the rapid development and growth of the baby and to replace the nutritional reserves for the mother. For example, in case the mother to be does not have enough Calcium in her bones, the baby will take its needed dosage anyways and after pregnancy, the mother can face serious problems, such as osteoporosis.

Luckily, there is much information available for a healthy diet for the women who want to conceive. A diet that consists of rich foods and proper supplements can help guard the body against deficiencies during pregnancy and help the baby develop naturally, decreasing the risks of malformations and future diseases. To support the nutritional demands for the baby and the mother, more proteins, vitamins, calories and minerals are needed. Because of the high blood volume, iron needs to increase in the body. To decrease the risk of poor pregnancy conditions, the mothers should consult the health care provider and see if she needs any iron supplements. But iron is also found in healthy foods, such as fish, liver, spinach and others. Women also need extra protein to support the tissue of the foetus, maternal tissues and placenta.

For the proper function of the thyroid, iodine is needed. During the pregnancy, placenta will extract iodine from the mother and a deficiency can cause some serious problems to the foetus, such as mental retardation. On the same subject, low maternal zinc levels are often associated with low birth weight. Vitamin D and magnesium are needed for the growth of the baby. Vitamin D is needed for tooth enamel foundation and for bone ossification. Magnesium levels tend to decrease during pregnancy and luckily, oral magnesium supplements are also beneficial for treating leg cramps during pregnancy.

Staying healthy implies eating right. There are certain foods that should be consumed and certain foods that should be avoided. Foods containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins and so, are needed more. After the first three months of pregnancy, the need of the body for certain nutrients increase. This refers to iron, vitamin C, calcium, folate and protein. The essential fatty acids are also needed for the healthy development of the baby. Supplements with Omega 3 (which is found especially in seafood) are recommended and Omega 6 as well. But before taking any extra vitamins and supplements, it is best to consult the doctor, as when pregnant, anything can affect the baby. It is indeed rather difficult to comply with all the requirements needed and maintain a healthy diet. But having a healthy baby is all that matters and unfortunately, nowadays we can never be too sure of what we are eating. This is why it is always important to set up a healthy diet in advance and to integrate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and others.

Staying healthy is often associated with having an active lifestyle, meaning exercising. Before pregnancy, it is suitable to prepare the body with certain fitness programs. Walking, swimming and even yoga or breathing exercises will do wonders for your body and for the baby. Strenuous exercises should be avoided, horse riding as well, scuba diving and skiing too. Anyone looking forward to having a baby should prepare themselves with some lifestyle changes. A planned pregnancy can be dreamy and as long as everything is followed correctly, there are fewer chances of complications and of something going wrong. It is always better to be safe than sorry.