You probably know there are many important things you can do while you’re expecting to increase your chances of having a healthy baby and an uncomplicated pregnancy. But did you know that choices you make before you get pregnant can also help you and your baby?
Here at Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, we want to make sure you know how to take the best care of yourself and your baby. Our care providers would like to share some important tips with you about ways you can prepare your body for pregnancy before you conceive.
Tip #1: Quit smoking
Smoking while you’re pregnant increases the risk of many problems, including miscarriage, placenta disorders, premature birth, stillbirth, and birth defects. And after your baby is born, smoking can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.
Smoking could also make it harder for you to get pregnant. If you’re having trouble quitting, ask one of our providers for help.
Tip #2: Stop drinking
Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your baby’s brain and can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and birth defects. It’s best not to wait until you know you’re pregnant to stop drinking, because by the time your pregnancy test turns positive, damage may have already occurred.
Tip #3: Stop using drugs
Illegal drugs can cause very serious harm to you and your baby. Even marijuana can be a problem, because no amount of marijuana has been proven safe during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to quit, because it may be too late.
Tip #4: Eat a healthy diet
Healthy foods prepare your body for pregnancy and provide the nutrients needed for your baby’s growth and development. Eat nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fats, and cut back on processed food, sugary snacks, and salty junk food.
Tip #5: Avoid mercury
Mercury, a heavy metal found in some types of seafood, can contribute to birth defects. Before and during pregnancy, limit fish intake to no more than 12 ounces per week, and avoid high-mercury fish such as king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and bigeye tuna.
To learn more about seafood and pregnancy, check out the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations.
Tip #6: Exercise
Pregnancy requires strength and stamina, so you’ll benefit from being in good physical shape before you get pregnant. Aim for 30 minutes of walking or other moderate-intensity exercise five or more days per week.
Tip #7: Take prenatal vitamins
Prenatal (pregnancy) vitamins contain many nutrients you and your baby need. One of the most important is folic acid, a B vitamin. Folic acid can reduce the chances of certain birth defects if you begin taking it at least one month before you get pregnant.
Tip #8: Have a preconception checkup
During your preconception visit, we check on your overall health, make sure any chronic health conditions are under control, and ensure that none of the medications you take are potentially dangerous to a developing baby.
Get your body ready for pregnancy
Our doctors and midwives at Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology in Albany, New York, are here to help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call our office at 518-516-6726 or use our contact form to reach us.