8 Lifestyle Changes to Maximize a Safe Pregnancy
How early preparations can ease the pregnancy journey
Are you and your partner ready to conceive? Congratulations! Making the decision to have a baby is a milestone on its own. It requires a lot of planning, and for the mother-to-be, significant lifestyle changes.
While some of these changes may feel daunting for first-time mothers, early preparations can help make the transition easier. By changing your lifestyle accordingly, you’ll be more likely to conceive, and any resulting pregnancy will proceed smoothly till the happy (and hopefully super-effortless) outcome.
Make an appointment with your doctor.
You’ll want to check whether your immunizations are up-to-date, and get the necessary vaccines before conception. If you’re on contraceptives, ask how soon you can get off them and start trying for a baby.
Discuss family health history, medical conditions, and medicine that you are taking that may affect your pregnancy. This is not limited to just the mom-to-be; invite your partner to be present. That way, everything’s on the table, and he stays informed about his part in the job (and how to support you afterward).
Consider getting a “work-up” done
According to Dr. Ryan Arbie Bueno-Gusilatar, OBGYN Perinatologist at Asian Hospital and Medical Center and Perpetual Help Medical Center, a work-up involves assessment of the anatomic reproductive system through an OBGYN visit, and imaging such as ultrasound.
The basic OB visit will include a comprehensive medical history assessment and physical examination. Think of the “work-up” as an add-on. “Through this, we will be able to know if the couple has risk factors which may cause complications. We also check their metabolic health,” says Dr. Bueno-Gusilatar.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist
While it is generally deemed safe for a pregnant woman to have dental work done during pregnancy, it would be best to avoid procedures and medication that expose the fetus to even minimal risk.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can leave a woman more vulnerable to tooth and gum issues, preventing her from maintaining good dental health.
Have your regular cleaning, any x-rays, fillings, or any other procedure done prior to trying to conceive.
Start eating healthy
Dr. Bueno-Gusilatar says that while there is no one diet applicable to all, she recommends that women start eating whole foods, and lessen intake of high carbohydrates and high gluten, which may cause metabolic diseases.
Supplements, such as multivitamins, minerals, and antioxidants aren’t a must if the woman is able to get them from natural food sources. “For those trying to get pregnant, we encourage intake of folic acid and Vitamin D, which you can get from sunlight,” she says.
Dr. Bueno-Gusilatar cautions against the proliferation of unauthorized herbal supplements in the market. “Not only are they dangerous, they are also costly.”
Limit your caffeine intake
While coffee and caffeinated tea aren’t off-limits prior to becoming pregnant, controlling your consumption early on may make the transition easier.
Consuming more than 200mg of caffeine daily (roughly 1-2 cups of coffee or 2-4 cups of tea) during pregnancy may put the woman at risk for pregnancy complications and/or miscarriage.
Kick any bad habits
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can lead to many pregnancy and birth complications that can affect the baby for the rest of their life. Smoking while pregnant, for instance, increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); cause decreased fetal breathing in the short term; and be the underlying cause for learning problems, respiratory disorders, and adult heart disease in the long term. Drinking alcohol in the first trimester also increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and low birthweight.
Unless you’re suffering from an underlying medical condition, exercise is good for the body. Regular exercise, paired with good nutrition, will keep the body healthy and strong - qualities you need (and want!) throughout the duration of pregnancy and beyond.
Your doctor can inform you whether your current fitness routine might interfere with fertility, and if they’re safe for you to continue once you do get pregnant
If you haven’t started exercising yet, then now would be a great time to find a fitness program. Consider activities that can be done in the safety of your home, at least for now. Try to get in 30 minutes of work per day for 5-6 days a week, and reap the metabolic, physical, and mental benefits of regular movement.
Prioritize mental wellness
Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being—all of which affects how we think, feel, and act. Pregnancy is a life-changing event, so take steps to stay mentally sound. Feeling down, upset, and anxious is completely normal, especially during these times! But do seek help from a specialist if these emotions or certain thoughts interfere with your ability to live normally. and cope with the daily stress of life.
About The Writer
Trina is a wife, a full-time mom to two boys, and a Vinyasa, Prenatal, and Postpartum Yoga teacher. A yoga student since 2003, she is a believer of mindfulness and a consistent “off-the-mat” yoga practice. Before becoming a yoga teacher and a full-time mom, Trina enjoyed a 14-year career in broadcast media. When she’s not on her mat or doing chores, you’ll likely find her experimenting in the kitchen.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and do not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.