"Parenting Starts Much Before You Conceive!"

Amrita bhatia
Amrita bhatia

 | 1 minute to read
Nutrition

Parenting starts much before you conceive!

Preconception is the period when you plan to have a baby. This is the best time, you should start taking measures for a healthy pregnancy! Your body's status at this time plays an important role in deciding your unborn baby's health. The nutritional requirements are as high as of a pregnant woman. Obesity has been one of the biggest issues during pregnancy. So the BMI during preconception phase is important to consider. A pregnant woman with BMI>30 are more prone to gestational diabetes, which reduces her chances of normal delivery, there are chances for the baby to be too big and the baby can be still born too. There are even chances of early-stage cessation of breastfeed. Maternal obesity can lead to depression, preterm birth, cesarean delivery, hypertension etc. According to the researches, 50% of pregnant women are obese. And obesity increases the complications for both mother and the child. So women should reduce their weight before conceiving to avoid complications during pregnancy. Start having a balanced diet with varieties of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and food rich in protein. Start doing regular workouts with a healthy diet too. Another important nutrient required by a mother is folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that support healthy development of fetal. The requirement of folic acid is very high, so there is need to add supplement along with a folate rich diet. Folate rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, nuts, vitamins supplements and fortified foods. Lack of folic acid can lead to neutral tube defects which includes defects of brain and spinal cord in child. A woman should take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. It should be started pre-conception and should be continued further. So a woman planning for pregnancy should take folic acid daily to avoid the risk of Neutral tube defects. It is important for a woman to start building iron stores to meet the needs of the baby during pregnancy. Her diet should include iron fortified foods, green leafy vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry, etc. Calcium is very important for building healthy bones. If the mother does not have enough calcium in her pregnancy diet, the baby takes calcium from the mother's bone which can lead to osteoporosis in mother. A woman needs atleast 1000 mg of calcium in a day. Some good sources are dairy, rice, salmon, etc. Other micronutrients like zinc, vitamin D, etc should also be taken care of. A woman should avoid alcohol, smoking, drugs etc at this time. Responsibility for the child starts before conception. Nutrition of the woman decides the health of the baby. So a woman planning for pregnancy should start eating healthy covering all the nutrients, and should start working out too, so as to reduce the chances of weight gain. Early nutrition has effects of later chances of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. So you should start changing your lifestyle if you have plans to have a baby in near future, so as to avoid the risk of unfavourable outcomes of pregnancy. References: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02479 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075697/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235913/

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