Articles on Family Matters:
Planning For A Baby
If you have decided to have a child there are many things you should do to prepare for your baby. Although it doesn't seem like you should be changing your lifestyle before you even get pregnant, there are some things you should do.
Getting pregnant can easily be a very frustrating event for many people. Just remember that most couples will get pregnant within twelve months of unprotected sex. Every woman has a unique cycle and is only fertile at a certain time of the month. A woman will have an egg released about fourteen days before the beginning of their next period. There are many tests sold that tell you when you are ovulating. This is the time when you are most likely to get pregnant.
Before you get pregnant, you should get yourself on an aerobic exercise program. Swimming, biking and walking are great low-impact programs that work wonderfully for pregnancy. They are all easy on the baby as well as your joints. While you are pregnant, do not do any exercise that raises your heart rate above 140 beats a minute.
Another thing you should do if you are trying to get pregnant is to get in the habit of eating healthy. You should get on a good diet and eat three healthy meals each day with foods from each of the food groups. If you are underweight, your doctor will want you to eat more and gain some weight. Likewise, if you are overweight, your doctor will want you to lose some weight before getting pregnant.
Taking folic acid before you get pregnant will reduce the risk of nervous system diseases like spina bifida. You should start consuming foods high in folic acid, such as leafy vegetables and bread before you try to get pregnant. It can also be taken as a supplement. Other pre-pregnancy suggestions are to take a multivitamin each day and 1200 mg of calcium daily. Make sure you don't take too much vitamin A though, because if you take it in levels above the recommended daily allowance, it can be dangerous for the fetus and can even cause birth defects. There are many prenatal vitamins on the market that will work wonderfully.
If you smoke, be sure to quit as soon as possible. There are many risks for the baby if you smoke and it will also decrease your ability to even get pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy is extremely dangerous for the baby. The best way to quit is just to go "cold turkey", because even nicotine gum and patches are hazardous for the infant. In addition to smoking, drugs and alcohol should never be used during pregnancy. They can be detrimental to an unborn child.
Make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations before getting pregnant. If you haven't had chicken pox, you can get this vaccination. If you were born before 1980 and only got a measles vaccination as a child then it will be wearing off. You can get revaccinated but you have to wait at least three months after getting the shot to get pregnant. If you get pregnant too soon then this can cause problems for the baby. Another vaccination to make sure you are up to date on is the tetanus shot. This should be administered every ten years.
Taking these preventative measures before getting pregnant can help ensure that your baby will be born as happy and healthy as can be and will help the pregnancy itself go as smoothly as possible.
24 May 2007
Your Independent guide to Pregnancy
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