Preconception care refers to certain practices of good health and lifestyle that benefit the baby’s development in the womb.
The first weeks of pregnancy are crucial for the baby’s health so the mother has to take very good care of herself and the baby by addressing any health problem accordingly, getting all the necessary nutrients and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
What to do first
The mother’s decisions are very important for the baby’s development.
Before getting pregnant set a meeting with your doctor. There may exist aspects about your health that you might not be aware of but that can have a great influence on the baby, like diet, lifestyle, diseases that run in the family, medical history, fertility issues and so on. The discussion with the doctor can reveal if there is a need for certain steps or changes in the future mother’s life.
Lifestyle changes and improvements
A series of aspects have to be taken into account before becoming pregnant, in order that everything goes fine: lifestyle, diet, weight, vitamin intake. Before getting pregnant, a woman should try to reach a normal, adequate weight, to reduce the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes.
A good diet for a future mother should contain a lot of vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy, low-fat meat, pasta, plenty of fruits, folic acid supplements, reduced intake of salt and sugars.
Exercise is also important for a woman who is about to get pregnant. A mother’s physical condition can influence the lifestyle changes during the pregnancy.
Domestic violence is, unfortunately, a risk factor during pregnancy. Appeal to your nurse, doctor or social worker to get the needed support.
Women who are victims of domestic violence are even more likely to be abused during pregnancy. If you are being abused, tell your doctor, nurse, or social worker. They can help you get in touch with support services for abused women, such as crisis hotlines, domestic violence programs, legal aid ser-vices, or counseling. Most areas have shelters for abused women and children. You also can get help from the social services department in your area.
Quiting bad habits
Some bad habits can have severe impacts on the baby’s health. Stop using ciggaretes, alcohol and/or drugs if you want to have a healthy, normal child and if you are willing to change your lifestyle for good. Using and abusing these substances after the baby is born is equally harmful.
Diabetic women, or those who suffer fromhigh blood pressure, heart disease or obesity need supplementary care during the nine months of pregnancy. In any case, the doctor should know about the medical condition of the mother.
The health of the baby depends a great deal of that of the mother. Take care of all infections and health issues before getting pregnant.
Women who suffer from AIDS and are HIV infected should get the proper care and information during and about pregnancy in such conditions.
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