You probably already know the importance of good prenatal care, but do you know about preconception health? Dr. Parisa Pourzand and her staff are here to help you — from the time you decide you’d like to have a baby, through your pregnancy and delivery, and after your baby is born.
In this post, we discuss some of the steps you can take to get your body ready for pregnancy. Obviously, beginning your pregnancy journey from a place of good health is good for you and for your baby, but you may be wondering what specific steps you should be taking.
1. Take inventory of your current health habits
Consider your current habits. Are you active? Is your diet balanced?
You don’t need to begin training like an Olympic athlete, but if you eat more fast food than you should, begin working toward a more balanced, healthy, varied diet.
Even if all you manage is a brisk walk each day, exercise is important. Pregnancy takes a toll on your body, and if you’re strong and fit to begin with, it’s much easier to get through the changes and recovery.
Sleep is another critical part of overall good health that is often overlooked. Try to get at least six to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
2. Ditch the harmful habits
As you look at your health, there are three things you should immediately begin eliminating. Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can make it more difficult to get pregnant and increase the likelihood of miscarriage.
You should stop smoking completely, and even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous for a fetus. Experts say two cups of coffee or five cans of soda each day makes pregnancy less likely and miscarriage more likely.
Use of any drugs not prescribed by your doctor is also dangerous.
3. Talk to Dr. Pourzand
When you know that you want to become pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. She will give you advice based on your specific situation. For example, if you use birth control, she can tell you when to stop, and what to expect when you do.
Additionally, Dr. Pourzand may recommend specific supplements or vitamins based on your health. There’s evidence that taking folic acid reduces the likelihood of birth defects. Often a multivitamin that contains folic acid is recommended.
You may also need a booster of certain vaccinations. Rubella, tetanus, and others may have expired.
4. Consider reducing stress
Nearly everyone can benefit from less stress. Chronic stress has a negative effect on your overall health, and the better your baseline health, the better your chance of a healthy pregnancy.
Exercise is a stress reliever, but you may also find setting aside 10 minutes to focus on breathing and relaxation can make a big difference. Other possible stress relievers include activities like yoga or meditation and making time to enjoy hobbies. Mostly, you should be sure to schedule time for things you love doing.
Deciding you’re ready to have a baby is a big, exciting choice. Give yourself the benefit of an excellent start by following these tips, and by scheduling an appointment to ask questions and find out what else you should be doing.
Dr. Pourzand has offices in Glendale and Los Angeles. You can schedule at either office online or by phone, and we’ll be happy to see you!