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Pregnancy should not be considered a nine month journey, but a yearlong journey. Knowing that the first few weeks of pregnancy are the most vital to the development of the baby, a mother should be healthy and avoid any harmful activities and substances near the time of conception. Some habits are harder to break, and some health issues take longer to address. Preconception health for women will be beneficial to you and your baby.
Before you become pregnant you want to make sure that you cut out any habits that are harmful for your baby.
Smoking: During pregnancy is estimated to account for 20 to 30% of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 % of preterm deliveries, and about 10% of all infant deaths according to the American Lung Association.
Drinking Alcohol There is no safe amount of alcohol to consume while you are pregnant.
Recreational Drug Use During pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarriage, low birth-weight, premature births, developmental delays, and behavioral and learning problems.
Prescription Drugs There are many prescription drugs that are teratogenic (cause birth defects). Talk with your healthcare provider about any and all prescription drugs you are taking.
Herbs Most herbs and herbal remedies are not mandated by the FDA, and therefore, there is little to no research on the effect they have on pregnancy. Discuss any herbal or natural remedies you may be using with your healthcare provider.
Caffeine Some studies have shown a link between high levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception. A few studies have shown that there may be an increase in miscarriages among women who consume more than 200 mg (one 12oz cup of coffee) a day versus those who do not consume any caffeine.
Exercise Start exercising now. Set goals for what you want to achieve. Ask yourself if you want to lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, or improve lung capacity.
Track your menstrual cycle This is very important. Your doctor will ask you about your menstrual cycle, so you need to be prepared. Keeping track of your cycle will also help you track your ovulation and increase your chance of pregnancy.
Get lots of sleep Eight hours of sleep is recommended if you are trying to become pregnant. Adequate amounts of sleep can also help relieve stress and tension.
Eat healthy Nutrition is vital to your health. The healthier you are the easier the pregnancy will be for you.
You are what you eat, and so is your baby. Make sure that you are getting lots of vitamins in your diet, and start taking folic acid now. Studies have shown that folic acid (300-400mcg a day) can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects when taken before conception. Order Prenatal Vitamins with folic acid.
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