Pregnancy is a very beautiful time in a woman’s life. But, at the same time, it brings a lot of physical changes for the woman. Not only that, but it also brings a lot of changes at the level of mind and family dynamics for the couple and the family as a whole. Preparations are not only required by the woman alone but, the couple together. And, the whole family!
In this article, we will see, how we can prepare our body to be ready for pregnancy.
- Start exercising at least 3 months in advance to get fitter and increase your stamina. It helps in increasing your stamina during pregnancy and labour.
- Exercising also increases secretion of ‘Happy hormones’ which helps in ‘feeling good’ about the whole process and coping with it stress-free.
- Training for core exercises will help in strengthening your abdominal and back muscles which will be helpful in maintaining a good posture. You will less likely get back pains during and post-pregnancy.
- Weight loss can help in case you have PCOD and can regularize cycles. It also helps in shedding baby weight easily postpartum.
- Obesity is known to cause decreased fertility in males. Hence, a proper exercise regime should also be followed by the dad to be.
- A healthy and fit father is equally important. Start an exercise regime which increases stamina and sheds extra weight 90 days before planning for conception as the sperm cycle takes around 2.5 to 3 months.
- Moderate exercising is known to increase the quality of sperms. Cycling is not advisable.
Diet and Supplements:
- A healthy diet for both partners is required. Do not concentrate too much on weight loss as you should be well-nourished before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
- Adequate store of vitamins and minerals is very important. Folic acid should be started at least 2 months in advance. Folic acid is very crucial in the neural development of the child and hence, folic acid supplement before and during pregnancy is a must.
- Calcium in diet and as a supplement should be taken properly to prevent bone pains. It also helps in lactation.
- Basically, an all-inclusive balanced diet of all the nutrients should be planned and followed. You can consult a dietician before pregnancy.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs before and during pregnancy as it can adversely affect the fetal development
Get enough sleep:
- Enough sleep is required for proper immune responses, relieving stress and giving rest to the body. Disciplined sleeping habits will improve overall health for both of you.
Routine blood tests to be done:
Few routine blood tests are required before pregnancy like:
- CBC: which shows Hemoglobin level and if it’s low, it should be brought to normal before pregnancy. If you have been diagnosed with Thalassemia minor, it is very important to check the partner’s blood profile for the same before planning for pregnancy.
- Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is mostly found low because of lack of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is required for the absorption of calcium in bones. If vitamin D3 is low and you are taking calcium supplements, the calcium you are taking might not reach your bones. Hence, sufficient vitamin D3 levels should be maintained before pregnancy.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is usually found low in vegetarians as it is mainly found in animal food products. Vit B12 deficiency can cause tingling in upper and lower limbs, weakness, lethargy, low haemoglobin, gastritis, recurrent ulcers in the mouth, forgetfulness and heightened sensitivity emotionally. Before and during pregnancy, requirements of vit B12 increases and hence, adequate supplements should be taken.
- HIV: HIV test for both of you is advisable before pregnancy as it can be transmitted from an infected mother to baby during delivery. Utmost care and precautions should be taken during pregnancy and delivery if the mother is infected.
- Rubella or German measles: Women should make sure they are protected from rubella before pregnancy as infection with rubella virus causes the most severe damage when the mother is infected early in pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks (first trimester). Hence, a blood test for Rubella antibodies should be done and if not immunized, a vaccine should be taken.
- Thyroid profile: If you have a family history of thyroid disorders in the family, it is mandatory to check thyroid hormone levels pre-pregnancy as thyroid hormones are essential for the overall development of the child.
- Any genetic disorder in either of you: A genetic expert should be consulted before planning pregnancy to know the exact hereditary pattern and if any genetic tests will be required before going ahead.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B can be transmitted from an infected mother to baby during delivery. Test for the same should be performed and appropriate vaccination should be given if the mother has not been immunized with Hep B vaccination.
These are the measures which will help you in preparing your body for pregnancy.
Stay Healthy! Stay Happy!
– Dr Kruti Trivedi (B.H.M.S., C.C.A.H., C.D.E.)