Starting a family involves a lot of responsibilities even before the baby is born or even conceived. The preparedness that is expected is not only that of mental preparation but also in terms of physical actions. Every step needs to be taken cautiously and all habits need to be reviewed and tweaked. Certain changes that we can make can easily help improve fertility, protect one’s baby’s future health, and reduce the number of risks that one often faces during pregnancy.
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Let us take look at aspects that we need to pay attention to:
- Intake of Non-Medical Drugs – We often do not realize that substances that one might be addicted to or consume significantly can have a lasting effect on one’s child. Habits such as Smoking, Drinking, and Intake of Recreational Drugs can affect fertility and the chances of conception. Women who continue with these habits during pregnancy are known to have children born with structural changes in their DNA, born with withdrawal syndrome, etc.
- Intake of Folic Acid – Apart from the regular diet (healthy food intake), intake of Folic Acid supplements can be useful in preventing neural tube defects for the child. It is advised that one starts taking these supplements 2-3 months in advance of planning a pregnancy. The dosage is usually 5mg and is taken until one is 12 weeks pregnant, but it is best to consult the gynecologist for advice.
- Balanced Healthy Diet – No cuisine can replace a good balanced healthy diet and it cannot be stressed enough. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat, seeds, and protein such as lean meat are all sources of a good diet. One could reduce any sort of caffeine intake – tea and coffee, to a maximum of 200mg a day as excessive intake is known to cause miscarriages.
- Healthy Body Weight – Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure that takes into consideration one’s height and weight to see if a person is healthy, has to be followed. The ideal BMI for conception is said to be 18.5 and 24.9. Being overweight or underweight can affect fertility and cause problems during pregnancy.
- Exercising and Staying Active – Being active is necessary for everyone in general. Exercising in moderation even before and after conception is known to aid in easing pregnancy and childbirth. Children after birth are also known to stay healthy. It is recommended that one exercises a minimum of 4 days a week combined with light strength training to work the major muscles.
- Medical Testing – It is advisable to carry out cervical screening testing once every three years for women between the ages of 25 and 49 years and before planning on pregnancy to avoid any complications. It is also important to have the MMR vaccination – Mumps, Measles, and Rubella, which when contracted could be dangerous to the development of the child. Similarly, getting checked for sexually transmitted infections can save the pregnancy as well as the child. Informing the doctor about any other long-term complications such as diabetes, asthma, epilepsy or other mental health conditions is mandatory.
- Everyday items – It is not surprising that the chemicals that are involved in a certain day to day household items and cosmetics that we use and are exposed to, can also affect fertility. Harmful heavy metals such as cadmium, zinc, mercury are present in petrol fumes, house paint, cosmetics. Aluminum in cookware, toothpaste, deodorants, and antiperspirants can have an effect too. Soaps and detergents contain triclosan and parabens. Aspartame is found in artificial sweeteners such as ‘sugar-free’ which are known to cause PCOS. Anti-aging creams consist of retinoids, acetone-based nail products, and many more are dangerous.
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Not to worry. Although it seems to be worrisome, with guidance and advice, precautions can be taken to avoid any complications. One can rest assured that we, at Janisthaa Fertility Centre, headed by Dr. Shwetha, would satisfactorily answer all your queries. For a consultation, please visit our website http://jnaistha.local/ or contact us on +91 7619198083 for an online appointment.