How to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Everyone wants to have a healthy pregnancy, but there are certain hindrances that can cause trouble. Here’s all you need to know to conceive without any issues.

Deciding to have a child is indeed a huge milestone in a person’s life. However, before acting on the decision, you must understand the impact of pregnancy on your body and prepare for a healthy and positive one. With a little extra care and precaution, you can greatly enhance your chances of conceiving and having a healthy child.

Here are some measures you can take to prepare your body for conception and pregnancy.

1. Fertility diagnostics

One of the first and most crucial steps is evaluating your fertility status and reproductive health. Whether you are healthy or not, it is wise and advisable to get yourself and your partner screened before conception. This can help pinpoint any existing fertility issues or underlying health concerns that you may have as individuals and also as a couple. It is always best to know where you stand and manage it accordingly.

Here are some tests that can help:

  • Both parties can get blood and urine tests that check for hormonal imbalances and other comorbidities that may delay one’s chances of a natural pregnancy.
  • Men should have their sperm and semen analysed as well, so as to determine the viability and health of their sperm which can play a vital role in a quick conception.

Catching and treating the problem early can not only improve your chances of conceiving naturally, but also enhances the overall safety and well-being of your pregnancy. It can also help ensure the positive pregnancy outcome of a healthy baby.

2. Doctor consultations

It is important that you consult your doctor before you begin trying to conceive. A pre-pregnancy check-up is prudent and may involve a series of tests to ensure that your general and reproductive health are favorable for conception.
During this appointment, you should take time to discuss your family’s medical history or any underlying diseases you might have with the doctor and understand its impact on the health of your child.

healthy pregnancy
It is important to visit a doctor to keep your reproductive health in check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

A consultation is also helpful to get your queries answered, especially in case you have taken diagnostic tests prior to this. The doctor will help you interpret your results and offer you an action plan to treat any concerns that may have come up. Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes and medication to manage your fertility concerns.

3. Fertility counseling

It is essential for both partners to be not only physically, but also mentally well, in order to have a healthy conception and pregnancy. It is a long-standing belief that excess stress and anxiety, by hampering hormonal balance, cause fertility troubles and can hence hinder conception. If you are planning to conceive, and you don’t already have a therapist, this is the best time to get your mental health in check!

  • Seeing a psychologist or a therapist:

Seeking a psychologist or therapist while trying to conceive can prove to be beneficial, especially if you have already been facing trouble conceiving.

Another way to understand your reproductive health is by tracking your cycle. If you are planning to get pregnant soon we suggest you start tracking your menstrual and ovulation cycle at least a few months in advance.

How does it help?

  • To assess your chances of getting pregnant naturally and quickly, observing irregularities in your cycle early on allows you time to fix the concern duly and hence helps avert any possible difficulty in conception.
  • It allows you to evaluate your most fertile days, helping you plan when to try and thereby increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, and you must take good care of your health both before and during and after pregnancy. Exercise can be crucial in improving your health both physically and mentally. Aim to be active more regularly, whether you’re working out, walking, or doing yoga. It is best you consult with your doctor on the type of exercise that is safest and most beneficial.

Here’s what you must keep in mind:

1. Maintain a healthy Body Mass Index to bolster the chances of a healthy and successful pregnancy
2. Ensure you are eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet
3. Try to cut down your intake of processed and canned foods, as they may contain artificial additions that impact your fertility

Up your vitamin and folic acid intake

During pregnancy, your body uses the nutrients in your body to nurture the foetus. It is essential that you work to replenish these vitamins and minerals to make sure your health is maintained along with your baby.

It is advisable you take a multivitamin and folic acid supplement to ensure that your body has what it needs to grow the fetus for a successful pregnancy outcome. You can also avail yourself of the option of prenatal vitamins that are specially made to cater to the vitamin needs of expectant mothers.

healthy pregnancy
Multivitamins should not be skipped during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption and avoid drug use

It goes without saying that smoking, drinking, and drug use are damaging to your body and mind. Consumption of these substances can also greatly hinder your chances of conceiving. If you are looking to have a safe pregnancy and a healthy child, it is important to let go of all these habits at the earliest.

De-addiction programs and counselling can make a huge difference when quitting these substances, helping you develop a healthier lifestyle for both you and your baby.

The last word

Becoming a parent is indeed one of the joys of life, and everyone should have a chance to experience it if they wish to. To ensure that you can have a healthy conception and pregnancy, you can take some measures to better your lifestyle and fitness.

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