Indeed staying healthy is a vital part of life itself, whether you want to get pregnant, not wanting to do so or already pregnant…read on for some simple tips to stay healthy.
A healthy diet is important for both you and your partner’s fertility and for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Eliminating ‘junk’ food and eating a balanced diet for a least four months before you start trying to conceive will help to correct any nutritional deficiencies either of you may have. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and protein-rich food such as chicken, fish and pulses. Drink 8 glasses of water a day, and instead of tea and coffee, have herbal teas and diluted fruit juice.
Extensive studies have also shown that folic acid, found naturally in citrus fruit, green leafy vegetables and some fortified breads and cereals, can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. A daily supplement of 400mcg of folic acid should be taken for at least three months before becoming pregnant and until the 12th week of pregnancy. As well as folic acid, taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, designed especially for pregnancy, will ensure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Being significantly under- or over-weight can affect your fertility and cause complications in pregnancy. If possible, your preconception weight should be within 15 pounds of the ideal range for your height. If you are underweight, there is a risk that your baby will be small and may have problems during labour and after birth. Obesity is linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which results in anovulation and thus, difficulty in conceiving. If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop diabetes in pregnancy or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Regular exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, carried out for 20 minutes three times a week, will get you fit before conception and help your body cope better with the demands of pregnancy.
Make sure you have plenty of rest and relaxation and try to avoid high stress levels. Too much stress can upset sex hormone levels and the normal menstrual cycle. Men under stress are more likely to have poor sperm quality and may suffer from premature ejaculation or have problems maintaining an erection.!
For more tips along with dos and don’t at the pre-conception stage, read our pre-pregnancy check column.
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