Many women may not give importance to their nutrition before pregnancy and may not get all that they need of the different nutrients essential for the demands of pregnancy; that is why becoming healthy before becoming pregnant is very important.Pre-conception nutrition is a vital part of preparing for your pregnancy. Factors such as your weight compared to your height and what you eat can play an important role in your health during pregnancy and the health of your developing fetus.
Pre-pregnancy weight has a direct influence on your baby’s birth weight. Studies show that underweight women are more likely to give birth to small babies, even though they might gain the same weight when they are pregnant as normal weighed women! Overweight women before pregnancy can have increased risks or complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. So, it is recommended that you reach your healthy weight (either gain or lose weight) before you get pregnant. For those who are underweight, consume more calories that your body needs especially from healthy sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and meat. If you are overweight, you will need to cut off extra calories especially those that come from fats and low nutrition foods (junk food and sweets).
If you are planning to have a baby, you need to follow a healthy balanced diet. It is best to incorporate foods from all the essential food groups that include grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy, meat and beans as well as small amounts of healthy fats (oils).
Tips for pre-pregnancy nutrition and lifestyle factors:
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables as these are rich in many vitamins and minerals that you need for a healthy body
- Eat three servings of low-fat milk or dairy products to help build a healthy body when you are pregnant
- Whole grains give you the energy and nutrients you will need
- Avoid fast foods, sodas and reduce your sweet intake as well as they are low in nutrition and high in calories and fat
- Drink as much H2O as possible; it should be your favorite drink during this period
- Light to moderate exercise is good for your body. Although, when you get pregnant, you should consult with your doctor if it is safe to continue
- Consult with your doctor before getting pregnant about folic acid tablets as folic acid is very important in preventing many birth defects. A good mix of green leafy vegetables will also boost your intake
- Stop bad habits like smoking
- Minimize stress if and whenever possible