Having a healthy diet and maintaining your weight within an ideal range can help fertility, pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby. Excess weight can cause pregnancy to be more uncomfortable putting excess strain on the body, which may lead to conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes which can be problematic in pregnancy. Conversely being underweight can create problems with conception as the reproductive cycle can be out of kilter and attempts to increase weight with high fat, high calorie and unhealthy foods only compounds the problem. Eating a varied healthy diet, getting regular (moderate) exercise and generally having a healthy lifestyle will increase the chance of having a healthy baby.
Dads need to prepare for pregnancy too ...
A poor diet, alcohol, smoking or recreational drugs can all affect the quality of a man's sperm, so it's just as important for men to stick to a healthy lifestyle as it is for women. Interestingly, although coffee is not good for mums-to-be, it can have the opposite effect for dads-to-be, encouraging mobility of sperm. Vitamins essential for dads-to-be include zinc, folates and vitamin C. Exercise should be moderate - muscle building activity diverts testosterone from sperm production.
The good and the bad when preparing for pregnancy ...
- FOLIC ACID
Taking 400mg of folic acid daily can help prevent neural tube defects (such as spina bifida). It's important to begin taking folic acid whilst trying for a baby until week 12 of pregnancy. If in doubt, consult your doctor.
- FRESH FRUIT AND VEG
A well balanced diet full of fresh fruit and veg and complex carbohydrates will maintain a healthy body. Avoid sugary products, and saturated fats which are high in calories and low in nutrition. Avoid processed foods as they can be high in transfats (transfats can have a very negative effect on conception).
Cigarettes raise the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and can lead to early births, low birth weight and may affect the health of the baby in later life.
Alcohol is best avoided, but if you do drink it's best to do so in small amounts as alcohol strips the body of nutrients. It's particularly important for dads-to-be to avoid excessive drinking as this can destroy sperm quality and adversely affect male fertility for up to 3 months. For both parents-to-be, alcohol should be taken in moderation or not at all to improve the chances of conception.
Stress can have a very negative effect on the body and so can negatively impact on conception. Avoiding excessive stress can help to balance mind and body and improve the chances of conception.
- FOODS TO AVOID
Certain foods are best avoided during pregnancy: Nuts (especially if you have a history of nut-allergies, hayfever, asthma or eczema in the family) as they could lead to allergies in your baby. Some fish which may be high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, raw shellfish, marlin and tuna (although tuna can be taken up to two steaks a week or four small tins). Food such as pate or fish liver oils: these are high in Vitamin A which is stored in the body and excessive amounts of which can be harmful to a developing baby.
Preparing for conception, pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby is something in which both parents-to-be can participate.
Lothian Reflexology provides Reproductive Reflexology, Pregnancy Reflexology and Reflexology for relaxation and stress reduction. For more information contact Doris on 07724 197627.