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Is Your Body Baby Ready?
Get Healthy Before Becoming Pregnant
Having a healthy baby starts long before you conceive. You may be mentally ready for a little bundle of joy but, is your body ready? If you are ready to have a baby it’s important to plan in advance. Although, surprises are know to happen! About 40% of pregnancies are unplanned. That’s why if you know you want children then, it would be beneficial to incorporate some of these tips into your life now to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
Proper nutrition is vital for all stages of life, especially before conceiving your baby. Taking extra folate during pregnancy to prevent such diseases as Spina Bifida, which literally means split spine is extremely important for the health of your baby. Folate (Vitamin B12) is an essential nutrient needed for proper functioning of the nervous system as well as production of red blood cells. Although, there are many other essential vitamins, mineral ands trace minerals that are important as well.
You are usually about 6-8 weeks pregnant before you are even aware you have conceived. Many birth defects happen while the baby’s spinal column is still fusing which is around 2 weeks after your first menstrual period. During this time you may not know that you are pregnant. Researchers are still learning about the importance of nutrients and their link to birth defects. This is why it is so important that you start filling in the gaps of your diet now before you decide you are ready for baby. Ideally, you should start supplementing at the very least 6 months prior to conception but, many doctors will suggest 12-18month prior to get your body baby ready.
Supplements are never a replacement for a healthy diet. Think of your supplements as a so called insurance plan. You need to maintain a healthy diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy. Going organic would be best because most conventional food can contain toxic pesticides, herbicides, additives and preservatives. Cows fed GMO corn still have herbicides present in their meat after they are slaughtered. All of these are potential health threats to you and your baby. There is evidence that healthy nutrition and fertility are linked to both men and women. So, getting your partner on a healthy diet a supplement plan could be just as important.
Being under weight or over weight can affect your ability to conceive. Most doctors consider a BMI between 19 and 25 to be healthy. If you are overweight or obese you may experience hormonal imbalances that can affect your menstrual cycles and prevent ovulation, making it harder to conceive. Having a low Body Mass Index contributes to 12 percent of all infertility cases although, some women are naturally slim and having a low BMI will not affect their chances of getting pregnant. When you exercise excessively it can disrupt ovulation and your menstrual cycle, making it difficult to conceive. Their is always a balance with exercise too much can be damaging to your body.
Many women today are putting off having children until later in life. If this is you then you’re not alone, the number of women having children after 35 is rising. It’s estimated that around 40% of career women wait to have children. But, by a biological perspective, it’s best to try to start your family before the age of 35. Your most fertile years are in your 20’s and once you hit your late 30’s or early 40’s it will be harder for you to conceive. As you age ovulation problems can start to occur. The number of eggs you have declines with age as well as the quality of them. Don’t let some of these facts worry you too much. There have been many studies examining women’s fertility and the numbers range anywhere from 65% in the first year of trying up to 90% in the second year of trying.
Detox Your Body
Today, the modern world you live in is filled with environmental toxins that can be harmful to you and your developing baby. There are toxins in the foods you eat, the water you drink and the cosmetics and personal care products you put on your skin. Taking proper detoxification protocols and treating other underlying stressors within your body is an important part to get your body baby ready. Whatever protocols you take to detox prior to pregnancy should be a gentle process. Before diving into a detox program it would be wise to consult with a professional or your doctor. You never want to detox while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Detox Your Home
Detoxing your home is just as important as detoxing your body. You may not realize that your home is potentially your greatest risk for exposure to toxins, but it is! There are nearly 1,300 chemicals used in everyday products that are considered endocrine disruptors, also called hormone disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with your body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. Many of these chemicals you can not taste or smell.
Cleaning products, flame-retardant clothing and bedding, BPA, PCBs, phthalates, perchlorate, lead, PFCs, Organophosphate pesticides and Glycol Ethers are just a few chemicals that can be found in everyday products that can be sources of toxic stress. From solvents used in dry cleaning to nail polish, synthetic fragrances, food packaging, non-stick cookware, vinyl and plastic. All of these are sources that contribute to a toxic environment but, there are things you can do to reduce your exposure to them. Use glass, stainless steal or ceramic containers instead of plastic. Make sure your canned food is free from BPA linings. Dust and vacuum your house often. Use detoxifying house plants to help clean and improve your indoor air. Wash your produce. Use natural ways to clean your home instead of potentially harmful chemical cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and even vodka are just a few alternative ingredients you can use to cleanse your home naturally.
Break Bad Habits
Smoking cigarettes, dinking alcohol, diet soda and caffeine have all been shown to lower fertility and are harmful to developing babies. Studies show that all of these may cause hormonal imbalance, poor stress response and may even delay ovulation. Breaking unhealthy habits before you conceive is a big part of getting your body baby ready. You probably already know this so, you should stop now before you find out you are pregnant and have potentially harmed your precious developing baby. This should light the fire you need to kick your unhealthy habits to the curb. You’ll be glad you did!
Physical, mental and emotional stressors may all have a negative effect on your health. Elevated stress levels have been shown to contribute to hormonal imbalances by disrupting your endocrine system. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life. Learning how to de-stress should be part of your preconception plan. You may want to relieve stress by exercising, praying, meditation, writing, getting outdoors or by simply being around the people you love. I have found that getting in a good laugh is a great way to relieve stress. Pregnancy can be a stressful time, that is why incorporating stress management practices into your daily life now will help you cope better once you’re pregnant.
See Your Doctor
One of the first things you should do in your pre-pregnancy plan is to get a check up to identify and take care of any potential issues you may have. Your doctor will look for any current or past conditions that might affect your ability to conceive. Then, they will share any medical concerns they have and help you figure out how to address them. Your preconception visit is a good time to talk about any problems or concerns you may have and If you’re not already keeping a menstrual calendar, now is a good time to start. Don’t be shy about telling your doctor everything they need to know to help you plan a healthy pregnancy. This is one of the most special times in your life and you want to deal with any issues you may have now instead of trying to once you are pregnant.
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net “Wonderful Pregnant Woman” by hin255
What are some things you did to get your body baby ready? Let me know in the comments below.