A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise is important for every person at every stage of life. If a child appears in one’s own life planning, the topic has a special meaning. Because long before conception and seeing hamiləliyin əlamətləri (signs of pregnancy), women and couples who want to have children can influence the health of the child. For family planning, take one’s own lifestyle into account at an early stage and to adapt it if necessary. This affects the woman and also the couple together. It takes time to change your lifestyle. Therefore, it is advantageous to start as early as possible, at the latest when contraception is dispensed with.
If you want to have children, pay attention to your body weight at an early stage
The woman’s body weight plays a central role in family planning. The closer women are to normal weight, the better it is for their own health and that of the child. There are many possible health risks and pregnancy complications associated with a woman’s body weight that is too low or too high before pregnancy: In underweight pregnant women, miscarriages and premature births are observed more frequently. Overweight or obese pregnant women are more often affected by high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. On average, their babies are often larger and heavier than normal-weight women. This can increase the risk of later obesity in the child and lead to birth complications. Preventive examinations during pregnancy are also more difficult in overweight and obesity because increased abdominal fat tissue impairs the image quality of the ultrasound. All these are good reasons to avoid the development of obesity or, if necessary, to strive for an approach to normal weight early before pregnancy. Every kilo helps. In the case of obesity, for example, weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of the initial weight before pregnancy can have a positive effect – and increase the chance of becoming pregnant. Which therapeutic measures for severely obese women are suitable for weight loss before pregnancy must be clarified individually in the medical consultation.
A balanced diet with an extra portion of folic acid
A balanced diet means in short: drinking enough, preferably water. You should eat mainly plant-based foods, including whole grains, 3 servings of vegetables, and 2 servings of fruit per day. Overall, the use of fats is sparing, with vegetable oils having priority. The moderate consumption of animal foods should include, in particular, dairy products and marine fish. Both support the iodine supply, which is already important in the fertility phase. High-fat marine fish also provides the important omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Sweets can be extra in small quantities.
Women planning to become pregnant are also advised to take 400 mcg of folic acid (or an equivalent dose of other folates) per day as a supplement. This should be started as early as possible because many women have too little folate intake. (Folates occur naturally in food, folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin.) Folate is important for cell division and growth processes. Periconceptional intake (4 weeks before conception until the end of the 1st trimester of pregnancy) reduces the risk of childhood malformations of the nervous system (neural tube defect). Further nutrient supplementation is not necessary with a balanced diet before conception. This can be different for vegetarians and vegans. Your nutrient supply should be targeted at an early stage if you wish to have children, as it increases the risk of vitamin B deficiencies.12, DHA and zinc as well as in a purely plant-based diet in addition to protein, iron, calcium, and iodine. Vegans in particular should seek qualified nutritional advice if they wish to have children in order to remedy any nutrient deficiencies.
Cultivate good exercise habits when you want to have children
Exercise is like nutrition: a desire to have children helps to put good intentions into action. Regular physical activity increases physical and mental well-being. Adults should engage in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week, such as 30 minutes 5 days a week. At least 2 more days a week, they should take the time for muscle-strengthening activities. Everyday movements such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs are also desired. For sports beginners, sports are particularly suitable in which large muscle groups are used such as Nordic walking, swimming, or yoga, but above all one that is really fun and perhaps also likes the partner or girlfriend. Because new habits can be better maintained in pairs or in a group than alone.
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Early abstinence from alcohol and cigarettes
There is no safe, i.e. risk-free amount of alcohol for the unborn child. Since the first weeks of pregnancy usually go undetected, women should avoid alcohol as soon as they want to become pregnant. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy carries numerous risks for the fetus, including physical malformations and damage to nerve cells. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most common preventable disability of newborns. Smoking also carries numerous health risks for all people, especially pregnant women and their fetus. Among other things, there is an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth as well as malformations and allergies in the child. Smoking also affects fertility. Switching to e-cigarettes is not an alternative, as negative effects on their consumption are also discussed. At the latest with the beginning of family planning, women, better still the couple, should start quitting smoking together. Because often it takes time, sometimes even several attempts. Also, the avoidance of alcohol can be easier for the woman if the environment cooperates.
In addition to gynecological care: Schedule a visit to the dentist
Good dental health is generally important, also with a view to a future pregnancy. Studies have shown that untreated maternal periodontitis, for example, is associated with the risk of premature birth. Good oral care supports dental health. Therefore, brush your teeth at least 2 times a day and the interdental spaces 1 time a day. In general, prevention is better than aftercare. Although diseases of teeth and gums can also be treated during pregnancy, but sometimes only to a limited extent.
Check vaccination status regularly and close vaccination gaps
Virtually all viral infections in pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, malformations, premature birth, and pregnancy complications. Women who wish to have children should therefore regularly check their vaccination protection, especially against measles, rubella, and chickenpox, and have any gaps in vaccination closed. Vaccinations protect not only the woman and fetus during pregnancy but also the newborn in the first weeks after birth. Evidence that a COVID-19 vaccination can affect women’s fertility is inaccurate. Women who wish to have children can be vaccinated against COVID-19.