These preconception and pregnancy tips ensure that you can improve chances getting pregnanct and having a healthy baby
- As soon as you plan trying to get pregnant start taking prenatal vitamins and minerals including 400-600 mcg folic acid a day and continue during pregnancy. In order for folic acid to be effective it must be taken at least 1-2 months before conception. If you start taking folic acid only after a positive pregnancy tests then it is unlikely to be effective. Taking folic acid decreases your chances of having a miscarriage or having a baby with so called 'neural tube defects' and other malformations. Do not take "high dose" or "megadose" vitamin supplements. They may contain too high doses of vitamins such as vitamin A which may harm the pregnancy.
- Don’t drink any alcohol. None. There is simply no safe amount of alcohol. Most people know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy alcohol affects the fetus, but most do not know that Alcohol can also affect your fertility as well as the fetus before you get pregnant. In 2005 U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona warned pregnant women and women who may become pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption in order to eliminate the chance of giving birth to a baby with any of the harmful effects of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). So stop drinking as soon as you are thinking to have a baby.
- Drink no more than 2 cups of coffee a day (FYI: A mug contains usually up to 2 cups).
- Don’t smoke and don't spend any time in a room where someone is smoking.
- Drink at least 8-10 cups of healthy fluids a day. Try to drink most fluids between, but not with, meals.
- Watch what you eat - even if you already eat well. Keep meals small. Instead of 3 big meals, eat several small meals every four hours and avoid long period without food. Eat only healthy snacks.
- Include a balance of food containing folic acid and whole grain in your diet, such as green vegetables and brown rice, fortified bread and breakfast cereals. Cut down on foods such as cakes and biscuits, because these are high in “empty calories” such as fat and sugar.
- Eat dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt regularly as they contain calcium. If necessary add a calcium supplement.
- Have plenty of iron-rich foods and try to have some food or drink containing vitamin C, such as fruit or vegetables or a glass of fruit juice, with any iron-rich meals to help your body absorb iron. Good sources of iron include:
• red meat
• green vegetables
• fortified breakfast cereals
- Fish is a good source of protein and should be part of a well-balanced diet. Follow the following precautions when eating fish:
• Do not eat any large saltwater fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.
• Eat no more than one serving (6 ounces) of fish from local rivers, lakes or ponds each week.
• Eat no more that two servings (12 ounces) of other fresh or canned ocean fish (like salmon, tuna and flounder) each week.
- Do not eat any smoked seafood unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole. Most smoked fish is usually found in the refrigerated section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned fish such as salmon and tuna or shelf-stable smoked seafood maybe safely eaten.
- Do not eat Raw (unpasteurized) milk and foods that contain unpasteurized milk, e.g. soft cheeses such as Camembert, feta, Brie, blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as "queso blanco fresco." Hard cheeses, semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella, pasteurized processed cheese slices and spreads, cream cheese, and cottage cheese can be safely consumed.
Do not eat raw eggs and food containing raw or partially-cooked eggs.
Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot
Prepared salads, refrigerated pâté or meat spreads. Home-made prepared salads (especially those containing mayonnaise) which have reached room temperature can contain pathogens, even when refrigerated again. Canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads can be eaten.
Do not eat home-made or locally made sausages and salami
Do not eat undercooked meat, especially if it’s lamb or pork. Use a meat thermometer. Temperatures that reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes kill most pathogens like Listeria and Salmonella.
Do not diet while you're pregnant. The recommended increase in weight gain does not give a green light for mothers-to-be to overeat. Make sure you gain weight gradually in pregnancy. Although the extra nutrients are required, an increase of only 300 calories per day is recommended (equivalent to one cup of milkshake).
- Always wear gloves when changing cat litter or gardening.
- Wash your hands frequently before and after you eat, especially after you have touched raw meat, fish, or chicken, raw vegetables or anything related to soil. Wash them before and after using the bathroom.
- Clean your refrigerators and freezers regularly and throw out food that’s old or looks unsafe. Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure that the refrigerator always stays at 40 º F or below. Do not take any chances with food. Don't eat it if in doubt.