Plan and prepare for a healthy pregnancy

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Are you thinking if now is the right time for you to start your family? Are you and your husband ready for this step? If you are eager to get pregnant, you have to start considering a few lifestyle changes so you and your husband can feel at ease whenever this new step is started, and you can ensure the best start for your coming angel.

1. Improve your eating habits: Various factors play a role in the outcome of your pregnancy, and include your nutritional status before pregnancy:

  • Now more than ever, a balanced diet is essential.
  • Throw away every fad diet book, put aside myths, and start learning to eat healthy food.

What we recommend:

  • Eat 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with 1 or 2 healthy snacks.
  • It is essential not to skip any meals.
  • Have at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits (orange, lemon, kiwi, grapefruit) and dark leafy green vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, spinach). Thus, providing essential vitamins (C, K, E, etc) and minerals to your body such as iron, folic acid, and calcium.
  • Be sure to drink enough milk, and to eat dairy products in order to ensure proper intake of calcium.
  • Make sure to eat meat, chicken or fish at least once per day.
  • Replace the chocolate and sweet snacks with nuts, fortified cereals and whole grains; they are healthier and rich in folic acid.
  • Decrease your caffeine consumption.

Tip:  As for you, dad-to-be, you should feel free to add one extra cup of tea, or coffee as caffeine may help men by stimulating sperm motility!

2. Think again about your weight: Dear mom-to-be, it is extremely important to know that being underweight or overweight can affect your fertility and pose significant risks to your pregnancy. So we advise you to try and reach your healthy weight before you try to conceive so that you increase your chances of both conception and a healthy pregnancy. (Check with your dietitian regarding your BMI, and your healthy weight).

  • If you are underweight, your risk of having a low-birth-weight baby is higher! So now is the right time to put on some extra kilograms.

Tip:  Be careful; the extra calories you need should not come from junk food or fast food!
Make healthy choices such as:

  • Adding extra yellow cheese to your essential meal/salad.
  • Opting for full-fat milk instead of fat-free milk.
  • Drinking up to 2 cups of fresh juice per day.
  • Eating about 4-5 fruits per day.
  • Drinking 1 cup of full-fat yoghurt per day, or you can opt for 2-3 boxes of sweetened yoghurt.
  • Luxuriating yourself from time to time by having your favorite dessert.
  • If you are overweight or obese, take it steady. Step by step, you will be able to lose some extra weight. (Refer to your dietitian to help you reach your healthy weight).
  • What we recommend to you, is to adopt some changes in your lifestyle and your eating habits:

    • Start to exercise: Swimming, running, jogging, and playing your favorite sport is a very good way to lose the extra fat you have.
    • Opt for fat-free milk instead of full-fat milk.
    • Choose low fat cheeses.
    • Drink fresh juices.
    • Limit your consumption of fried food to the minimum.
    • Limit your unhealthy snacks

Tip: Extreme weight loss from crash dieting can deplete your body’s nutritional stores, which is not a good way to start your pregnancy. So don’t overdo it! And always refer to the dietitian’s advice.

3. Start taking vitamin supplements (of course under the supervision of your healthcare specialist): This way, you ensure that your body is getting enough of several vitamins and minerals. At the top of the list is folic acid (B9), which is very essential for both your health and that of your coming baby.

Tip: Taking vitamin supplements is not a substitute for a healthy balanced diet!

4. Stay away from cigarettes and waterpipes: All of us know how harmful smoking is for you, your husband, and your whole environment, so imagine its effect on a fetus.

Tip:  Daddy, you are the biggest support to your wife! We count on you to encourage her and yourself to quit smoking.

5. Eliminate environmental dangers:
Some jobs may be hazardous to you and your unborn child. If you stand all day, travel a lot, or are exposed to chemicals or radiation on a regular basis, we advise you to discuss these situations with your healthcare professional and see if you can come up with ways to avoid or eliminate hazards in your work place.

6. Stop using contraception:
It is critical if you are using contraceptive pills to discuss this matter with your gynecologist, as he/she is the only one who has the right to tell you when to stop taking them and when to start trying to conceive.

7. Check with your doctor if your vaccinations are up to date:
This way you can get any vaccines you need to protect you and your baby before you  conceive.

All of these lifestyle modifications are extremely important to avoid a “high-risk pregnancy.” Being called "high-risk" may sound scary. But it's just a way for doctors to make sure that you get special attention during your pregnancy. Your doctor will watch you closely during your pregnancy to detect any problems at an early stage.

Many conditions put you and your baby at a higher risk of problems, such as slow baby growth, preterm labor, preeclampsia, and problems with the placenta. But it is important to remember that having a high risk pregnancy doesn't mean that you or your baby will have problems.

In general, your pregnancy may be at high-risk if:

  • You have a health problem, such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease and epilepsy.
  • You smoke.
  • You are younger than 17 or older than 35.
  • You are pregnant with more than one baby (multiple pregnancies).
  • You have had three or more miscarriages.
  • Your baby has been found to have a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome, or a heart, lung, or kidney problem.
  • You had a problem in a past pregnancy, such as:
    • Preterm labor.
    • Preeclampsia or seizures (eclampsia).
    • Having a baby with a genetic problem, such as Down syndrome.
  • You have an infection, such as HIV or hepatitis C. Other infections that can cause problems include cytomegalovirus (CMV), chickenpox, rubella, toxoplasmosis, and syphilis.
  • You are taking certain medicines. Alert your doctor about the type of medicines you are taking.
  • Other health problems that may cause your pregnancy to be classified as a high-risk one include heart valve problems, sickle cell disease, asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your doctor about any health problems you have.
  • Being a caffeine addict: Be aware, caffeine is not only found in coffee! Caffeine is always present in chocolate, tea, and sodas.
  • Being overweight or underweight.