It is the time to get your body ready for a baby by eating right and making sure you are getting the proper nutrients.
Even before you get pregnant, you can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby by following these guidelines:
- Hydrate the healthy way. Make sure you are getting eight glasses of water each day to optimize all your body’s systems, including reproduction.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates. Eat whole grain breads, cereal, and pasta and skip the refined white flour items such as white pasta and white bread. Fruits and vegetables are also a healthy source of carbs and vitamins, and provides some water for hydration.
- Get adequate sources of protein. Low-fat dairy, lean meats, eggs, nuts, beans, and legumes, are all excellent choices. Eat a variety of these each day. Your protein needs increase even more during your second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding.
- Consume healthy fats. You can get the healthy fats you need by eating olive, avocados, and fish with omega-3 fats (limit fish to two servings per week). Try ground flaxseed on your cereal or in a fruit smoothie for more omega-3s.
- Take a folic acid supplement. Experts recommend 800 mcg per day at least three months before you get pregnant and throughout the first trimester to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. You can also begin taking a prenatal vitamin, which should have the folic acid included.
- Don’t take megavitamins. High levels of vitamin A, in particular, have been linked to birth defects. A prenatal vitamin should give you the nutrients you need before and during pregnancy — no additional supplements needed. Your obstetrician/gynecologist can also provide recommendations and guidelines on vitamin supplements for you.
- Stop smoking. You probably know that smoking and tobacco harms your baby and you.