Is Your Body Ready for a Baby
Giving your baby a good life starts during pregnancy, and that means getting your own health sorted out well before you become pregnant in the first place. Your general physical well being pre-pregnancy will greatly affect how healthy your baby is at the start of its life. While you may be thinking about all the great maternity clothes you’ll get to wear and all the cute baby things you’ll need to get, it’s also worth assessing your health and making adjustments to your lifestyle in order to give your baby the best start possible. The following are just some ways you can get your body ready for a baby.
Visit Your GP
If you’re planning on falling pregnant, it’s worthwhile checking in with your GP, midwife or practice nurse beforehand. This is especially true if you have a long-standing medical condition like epilepsy, asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes. Your GP can help you go through your general health as well as assess any medications you’re taking to ensure they’re safe for a developing baby. For instance, many medications taken internally for acne are extremely unsafe for unborn babies.
Your current weight would also be a concern for your GP. Women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, are usually recommended to try to lose weight in order to improve chances of conception and to ensure a healthy start for the baby. Likewise, underweight women (BMI between 19 and 25) may need to gain some healthy weight.
Your GP will also ask you about some of the following:
- Your health and lifestyle.
- Your eating habits.
- Any irregularities with your periods.
- How much exercise you get regularly.
- Anything unusual about your job, such as high levels of stress or exposure to hazardous materials.
- Your mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Any genetic conditions that run in your family, such as Down’s Syndrome, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and so forth.
- Any terminations, miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies you’ve experienced in the past.
Get Necessary Medical Tests
Depending on your state of health, your GP may suggest that you have some tests done. For instance, they might recommend a blood test to check for things like anaemia, sickle-cell anaemia or immunity to rubella. Getting screened for STIs like hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV will also increase your odds of a successful pregnancy. You may need to get a cervical smear done as well.
Update Your Vaccinations
Some infections that can cause miscarriage or birth defects are entirely preventable if your vaccinations are up to date. Some common diseases you may want to vaccinate against well before you become pregnant include rubella, tetanus and hepatitis B.
Take Necessary Dietary Supplements
When you decide to try to fall pregnant, you may want to consider taking folic acid supplements. Folic acid is one of the most important maternity supplements because it has been found to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. The early weeks of a pregnancy is when your baby’s brain and nervous system are quickly developing, so this is also when folic acid is most important.
Give Up Harmful Substances
One of the most important things you can do to protect the health of your baby is to stop smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. The best time to quit is as soon as you start trying for a baby, as doing so will significantly reduce the risk of miscarriage and other harmful side effects for the baby.