Planning on starting a family in the near future? What better reason to start taking care of yourself and getting into some healthy habits! Looking after your body in the lead up is beneficial for both you and your baby to have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and start to life.
Exercise – is important for muscle strength, endurance, improving energy and mood, reducing stress, improving sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of many health conditions. The risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia are significantly reduced by being a healthy weight. Remember to build up your exercise slowly and do something that you will enjoy and find easy to commit to, that way it becomes easy to get into a regular exercise routine. Try to include a combination of cardio and strength exercises. The fitter you are leading up to and during your pregnancy, the more energy you will have and less chance of experiencing aches and pains
Diet – It’s also very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay well hydrated. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can help to get many of the nutrients and vitamins needed to support you. It is best to have a variety of different colours as there contain different nutrients. Try to include a mix of green, red, orange/yellow and purple/blue. Also try to minimize sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fat, and processed foods. Sufficient hydration is also required for our cells to function properly and for waste products and toxins to be removed. Having sufficient intake of folate/folic acid through either supplements or diet also helps to avoid neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Sleep – Ensuring you have enough sleep i.e. 7-9 hours per night is important for your body to reset and recover from the day. It improves energy, immunity, memory, concentration, stress, mood and the risk of many health conditions. Some things that can help to improve your sleep: getting into good routines of going to bed and getting up at regular times, ensuring time to relax and wind down prior to going to bed, keeping distracting things like phones out of the bedroom and avoiding screen time in the lead up to bed time.
Smoking/alcohol/caffeine – This is also a great time to get on top of other habits such as quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol and caffeine consumption. Finding safe alternatives to wind down and manage stress like meditation and yoga can help as a substitute to those drinks at the end of the week.
Make sure to also get advice specific to you from your doctor.