TAKING CARE OF YOU
If you are planning to become pregnant, it is a good idea to have a prepregnancy checkup. The aim is to identify things that could affect your pregnancy. During this checkup, your GP/Gynae will ask about your diet and lifestyle, your medical and family history, medications and any past pregnancies. Treatment and modification of these risk factors will ensure of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Your health and nutrition may affect you baby’s growth and development esp the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Although most of your nutrients should come from the foods you eat, it is advisable to start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement before pregnancy. These supplements contain all the recommended daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during pregnancy. Folic acid helps prevent brain-spine deformities (neural tube defect) when taken before pregnancy and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. The recommended dose is 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
Ideal Body Weight
Obesity during pregnancy is associated with several pregnancy and childbirth complications e.g. hypertension, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, gestational diabetes, big baby (macrosomia), increased risk of birth defects, birth injury and caesarean section. It is not advisable to lose weight during pregnancy.
The best way to lose weight prepregnancy is by modifying your daily diet and by being more physically active. Cutting back on the number of calories you consume is a good first step e.g. to avoid sweet drink and food/cake. Exercise burns calories and helps you lose weight.
Underweight pregnant lady is at increased risk of having a low birth weight baby and preterm birth. These babies are at risk of problems during labour and may have health and behavioural problems that last into childhood and adulthood.
Smoking, drinking alcohol and recreational drugs use during pregnancy can have harmful effects on a baby’s health. The fetus is most vulnerable to the harmful effects of these substances during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Stopping these harmful behaviour before pregnancy may reduce or even eliminate the risks of some birth defects that occur early in pregnancy.
Optimizing Treatment of Medical Diseases
Medical diseases e.g. diabetes mellitus, hypertension and epilepsy
can cause problems during pregnancy.
You need to discuss with your GP/physician to control the diseases
and to modify medications which suitable for pregnancy.
You should practice effective contraception
until your diseases are well controlled and your medications are optimized.
Ref: American College of Obs. & Gynecologists