5 Expert Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

pregnantLast week, I attended a panel for TLC's moving show, A Conception Story, which focuses on couples from different walks of life who are trying to get pregnant. In addition to hearing several couples' rollercoaster stories of heartbreak and happiness, I had the pleasure of hearing Janis Biermann, Senior Vice President of Education and Health Promotion at the March of Dimes, speak.

It wasn't the facts and figures about infertility and getting pregnant that caught my ears for you, dear readers -- though they were interesting. It was the five tips for having a healthy pregnancy that piqued my interest the most. And now I'm here to share.

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Be sure to get a preconception checkup. I wish I can say I was organized enough to have done this myself, but, you know, I wasn't. Basically, the reason this is so important is because it ensures that you're as healthy as possible to start growing your baby. If you have any health conditions that can pose a risk in pregnancy, they'll be addressed right off the bat and hopefully squared away before you get pregnant -- as opposed to during. Your doctor can also make sure your vaccinations are up to date and that any medications you're taking are safe for the little one.

Get to your ideal weight before getting pregnant. This pretty much ensures that you're feeling comfortable and well before you get pregnant -- and start packing on the pounds. It also helps to adapt a healthy lifestyle, which is crucial during pregnancy, and which also brings me to my next tip ...

Learn how to adapt healthy behavior. Not only do you want to eat healthy and get exercise for life, you really want to do so while pregnant. In conjunction with getting to your ideal weight beforehand -- or close to -- learn to make good choices in the foods you eat. Eat foods from the five food groups, limit caffeine, and get educated on the foods you should avoid while pregnant.

Folic acid. Biermann really stressed this during the panel. Apparently, folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects. But the thing is -- it only works if taken before getting pregnant and during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Again, I didn't do due diligence and take folic acid before trying to conceive. At my last appointment, I asked my doctor if I should start now -- since it is important for women in general -- and she said that my prenatal should be enough. So, if you're at least taking a prenatal vitamin before trying to get pregnant, you should be in pretty good shape.

Plan your pregnancy. Nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, and although a child is often thought of as an amazing gift, it helps if you -- and your partner -- are mentally, emotionally, and financially ready.

Kind of seems like a lot of stuff, but when you actually start doing it, it's not that bad. And what's more important than creating a healthy environment for your baby to grow?

What other pre-pregnancy/pregnancy tips do you have?

 

Image via photographybyjoelle.com/Flickr

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