You did not miss out on birth control pills when you did not want to get pregnant and now that you have decided to go the family way its only justifiable that you take every step possible to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Whether you are trying for a baby or just planning for it, no time is too early to start getting ready for conception. The care and concern you show towards your body as well as your mind affect your pregnancy outcomes but the care that you show towards yourself before getting pregnant is equally important for both the mom and baby. It’s even better to pay a visit to the healthcare provider to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy who is sure to recommend the following: adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle practices which can minimize your chances of gestational diabetes, increasing folic acid intake primarily through supplements that are prescribed for a couple of months before and after conception alongside folic acid-rich foods, have an open discussion on your health problems including BP, diabetes, asthma and even heart problems and take steps such that these do not affect the developing fetus and finally ensure that the pregnant mother is mentally healthy without anxiety, depression or too much stress.
Taking Care Deep Down from your Heart
It’s also fundamental that women planning for a baby optimize their cardiac health before conception. While this holds good for every woman it makes more sense in case of those suffering from problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or familial hypercholesterolemia (this is a genetic disease that increases cardiovascular risk and keeps cholesterol levels high too). Besides increasing risk of complications from pregnancy that include high risk of pre-term labor and preeclampsia (a condition that occurs only during pregnancy where the pregnant woman has high blood pressure and protein in the urine), these conditions can cause great harm to the pregnant woman’s placenta and also affect her kidneys, liver and brain.
Pregnant women with diabetes are at an even greater risk of pregnancy-related complications which is heightened further when she also suffers from smoking and high blood pressure. All of these, or perhaps, each of these increase the burden on the heart to pump extra blood through the circulatory system. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists reveal that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal death during pregnancy and post-pregnancy amounting to 26.5% of all pregnancy-related deaths which is predominantly present in those with lower incomes.
This is also a wake-up call for doctors to get a clear picture of the woman’s heart condition before she gets pregnant and also take proper steps in screening, diagnosing and controlling heart problems right before pregnancy to postpartum to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby. Presence of any medical condition should be optimized before proceeding for pregnancy. For instance, a woman might suffer from heart problems but this doesn’t mean that she should never become pregnant but it does emphasize on the fact that she meets her cardiologist as well as her Ob-Gyn before getting pregnant to understand her health status and find out what precautions she must take to sail through a safe pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. But instead, if you directly go to your ob-gyn after realizing that you are pregnant hoping all goes fine there is no assurance of your health as well your baby’s. Even before meeting your panel of doctors you can lay the foundation for a healthy heart by quitting smoking, restricting alcohol intake and managing weight. A woman’s body is well-defined to adapt naturally to pregnancy-related changes but if you are overweight/obese it makes pregnancy difficult increasing your risk of complications such as stillbirth, preterm delivery, preeclampsia and diabetes apart from increasing your child’s risk of a congenital heart defect. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to resolve weight issues and get down to a healthy body weight before proceeding to conceive.
Every woman cherishes her pregnancy period and wishes for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. But it is also most critical that she takes all steps possible to ensure a smooth pregnancy period and a healthy baby delivery by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy food and optimizing medical conditions before getting pregnant.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.