It’s never too early to start planning for your future baby’s health. We’ve learned so much in the past 30 years about the connection between a mother’s health and how it affects her unborn children.
If you’re planning to get pregnant in the next year or so, now’s the time to start planning for a healthy baby.
5 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Future Baby’s Health
Did you know that the quality of your eggs is essential to your baby’s well-being? Even things like second and third-hand smoke years before you want to start your family can affect egg quality. Also, the children of mothers with type 2 diabetes or who get gestational diabetes during pregnancy have higher risks of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
Those are just two examples of why focusing on your health before getting pregnant is so important for your baby. So, as we head into the next year, here are things you can do to plan for a healthy baby in 2023.
1. Schedule a preconception appointment
Did you know OBGYNs offer preconception appointments? These help you to connect with your gynecologist before trying to conceive. We’ll take a look at your current medical history and reproductive history to ensure we’re doing all we can to support a healthy conception and pregnancy.
We are especially interested and hearing about things like:
● Irregular periods
● Especially heavy or painful periods
● Unusual pelvic or abdominal discomfort
● Whether you’ve been pregnant in the past
● A previous ectopic pregnancy
● Miscarriage history
● History of babies born with genetic or chromosomal defects in your family
Answers to these questions help us determine whether to schedule imaging or other screening tests to look for potential infertility factors such as endometriosis, PCOS, uterine scarring, or fibroid tumors.
2. Stay away from smokers
First and foremost, you should not be smoking – including vaping nicotine and THC products. However, it’s also best to stay away from others who smoke. Study after study confirms that secondhand smoke increases pregnancy risks – even for women exposed to it long before they were pregnant.
Even third-hand smoke (chemical residue left behind on clothing, upholstery, etc.) is linked to adverse health outcomes.
Recently, studies evaluating the effects of secondhand smoke (SHS) on babies in-utero: …” increase[s] the risk for children to develop cancers and can trigger or worsen asthma and allergies, modulate the immune status, and is harmful to lung, heart and blood vessels. Smoking during pregnancy can cause pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes as well as changes in the development of the fetus.”
Additional studies also show that exposure to secondhand smoke while in utero increases a child’s risk of cerebral palsy. Let that be an inspiration for your partner to stop smoking as well. Do your best to avoid secondhand smoke from regular cigarettes and vaping cartridges, as both give off harmful chemicals.
3. Focus on an anti-inflammatory diet
While home pregnancy tests allow women to find out they’re pregnant within a week or two of conception, most women don’t know they’re pregnant for an average of six weeks into their first trimester. The healthier your diet is when you get pregnant, the healthier your baby will be from the moment it’s conceived.
We recommend focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet while trying to conceive. In addition to ensuring you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, an anti-inflammatory diet also helps to manage any underlying health conditions – including any you’re unaware of – while reducing their symptoms and side effects. Anti-inflammatory diets also reduce the number of refined sugars and processed foods in your diet.
4. Establish healthy sleep habits
Establishing healthy sleep habits also supports healthy conception and pregnancy. Sleep is essential first supporting multiple aspects of a healthy body and faster conception rates:
● Hormone balance
● Stress reduction
● Healthy immune system function
Recent studies have also correlated a link between women who get too little or too much sleep and reduced fertility success rates. If you work nights or do swing shift work, speak to your boss and ask if you can switch to a more regular schedule that allows you to be awake during daylight hours and asleep after sunset. This schedule supports a natural circadian rhythm and healthy hormone balance.
5. Get your partner on board
For some reason, society tends to place the bulk of fertility emphasis on females. The reality is that infertility factors are equally shared between women and men. All of the things that compromise female fertility also compromise male fertility.
Get your partner on board and ensure they’re doing the same things for your fertility health. This includes eating a healthy diet, weight management, not smoking, and avoiding excessive drinking. Consider yourself a fertility-friendly team, supporting each other and healthy lifestyle choices as you plan for healthy parenting choices.
Schedule a preconception appointment with Overlake OBGYN
We are so excited you’re planning for a healthy baby in 2023. Schedule your preconception appointment with Overlake OBGYN, and we’ll do all we can to support your healthy pregnancy.