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Preconception Health

Preconception health means being aware of your health conditions and the risk factors associated with them, before trying for a baby. Make sure you get a physical if you’re trying to conceive so you know what to expect and how to handle any possible warning signs. Typically 3 months is a good amount of time to prepare for conception.

Sure, it can be tiring for a expectant mother to have regularly scheduled doctors visits but don’t skip out on appointments. Try not to miss any and avoid cancelling even if you are feeling exhausted. Usually your doctor can put you at ease and you will leave feeling better knowing you’re healthy and your baby is developing properly.

Weeks 6 thru 9 are the highest risk because it’s an important time for your infant’s organ development. Avoid any situations with alcohol, smoking and drugs. Your OB can provide a list of acceptable medications.

Good nutrition and exercise are crucial. Exercise is perfectly OK as long as it’s modified and you don’t get overheated. It is shown that cardiovascular fitness helps during labor and delivery! Eat plenty of protein, low-fat and low-sugar foods but definitely don’t deprive yourself of a treat once in awhile.

According to, these are the 5 most important things to do even before getting pregnant – in a nutshell:

  1. Take 400-800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day for at least 3 months – (found in the pictured foods, but hard to get the full recommended amount through just foods). It reduces risk of brain and spine birth defects – SO important!
  2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Ask if you need help.
  3. Get all medical conditions under control (i.e. asthma, diabetes, HBP, obesity, depression). Get vaccinations up-t0-date.
  4. Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using, including dietary or herbal supplements
  5. Avoid contact with toxic substances like chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

Mothers that skip out on prenatal care tend to have babies with a low birth weight and it also increases the chances of the newborn surviving. With the advances in medicine today, health problems can be detected early-on, especially in mothers who see their doctor regularly. The earlier the treatment, the better chance of cure and prevention.

Love your pregnant belly and nourish it.

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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