Whether you want to conceive now or at some point in the future, making some changes to your health habits can help. Some of the lifestyle changes you make can improve your overall health, which will make your pregnancy healthier whenever you conceive.
Some of the lifestyle habits you practice before pregnancy can have a big impact on your future pregnancy, including your baby’s health. Many of the prenatal care strategies are simply good practices for your health. In this blog, Dr. Alan Patterson at Alan Patterson OB/GYN explains more about some of the prenatal care strategies you should implement today.
If you haven’t had a recent checkup, you may have missed out on some of your recommended immunizations. You may not have had a recent tetanus booster, for example. The CDC recommends that all adults get a Td or Tdap vaccine.
However, if you haven’t had a recent tetanus shot, you may want to wait until you’re pregnant and get the Tdap vaccine in the third trimester. The Tdap vaccine may help you to prevent the risk of transmitting pertussis to your baby.
You also need to get an annual flu shot and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Folic acid supplements can help to prevent birth defects. But you have to take it before you become pregnant to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby. Neural tube defects can cause disorders in your baby, the most common of which is spina bifida.
Focusing on eating well is an important part of your pregnancy – as well as your general overall health.
You need to eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet. Try to get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, making sure to choose produce of every color to get the maximum amount of nutrients. Plan to eat a good amount of lean protein as well. Good choices include chicken, fish, and lean cuts of beef.
Of course, you also want to drink plenty of fresh, clean water. Aim for 64 ounces a day at the very least.
You may not think you need to worry about consuming alcohol or recreational drugs if you’re not pregnant yet. But you should still avoid them for your health, especially if you’re considering becoming pregnant.
It’s possible to get pregnant before you’re planning to, which makes the potential consequences of drinking or using recreational drugs more serious. You’re better off just avoiding it altogether.
And if you smoke, you should quit. If you need help, talk to Dr. Patterson to develop some strategies to effectively quit smoking.
If you have a high-stress lifestyle, you will benefit from reducing your stress in many ways. Stress may impact your fertility, according to several studies. Although the link between stress and infertility isn’t conclusive, having too much stress is never good for your health.
You may want to try meditation or prayer, journaling, or even exercise. These practices will reduce your stress, which can also reduce your blood pressure.
When you’re thinking about getting pregnant in the future, it’s always a good idea to schedule a preconception appointment, in which you can review your current health and see what kind of changes you might need to make. Contact Dr. Alan Patterson or make an appointment online.