Here are some pieces of valuable advice for those of you trying or planning on getting pregnant in the near future.
- Stop all medications. If you are planning on getting pregnant stop using contraception, avoid using pain killers except for Tylenol, stop any herbal medications you may be using and ask your physician for the safety of all meds you are on. Stopping medications includes any (Unsafe) anti-depressants or anti-anxiety pills. It is essential that pregnancy does not take you by surprise when you are on an anti-depressant that has not been studied for its effects on the fetus as this exposes your child to unnecessary risk.
- Stop drinking, period! It is still unknown what amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy and so if you are planning to get pregnant simply avoid alcohol altogether. Most fetal exposures to drugs and alcohol occur during the first trimester when a mother does not know she is pregnant.
- Quit SMOKING! There is no more urgent time than the prenatal period to quit smoking. Some women are under the misconception that smoking is better than a nicotine patch. Not true! Smoking increases chances of preterm labor as well as low birth weight infants, not to mention the fact that it has been linked to childhood asthma and allergies.
- Start taking folic acid 1000 mg/day. It is essential to take Folic Acid 1000 mg/day or pre-natal vitamins that contain that amount as more&more studies are stating that women should be on Folic Acid even if they are not trying to get pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of the baby developing Neural tube defects.
- Take up yoga. Continue this throughout the pregnancy as it will help you connect with your baby and prepare you for the day you give birth.
- Practice Kegel exercises. Do these as much as you can whenever you can (especially while urinating) throughout the pregnancy. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the risk of developing post partum hemorrhoids and other weak pelvic floor complications that occur after delivery.
- Avoid exposing yourself to car fumes or any chemical fumes. Avoid using pesticides, and contact with harsh chemicals such as those in laundry detergents and dish soaps, etc. I would advise switching to organic ones as this all reduces risks to your baby, such as the risk of childhood asthma and allergies.