April 27, 2009

Preparing for Pregnancy: Lesson 4

Filed under: Tips,Advice,Ideas — hypeplug @ 4:54 pm

HOT TOPICS: parents.com parents.com parents.com parents.com
Preparing for Pregnancy — Week 4

How Should You Prepare Your Body?

Taking the right vitamins can help ensure a healthy baby, especially if you start before conception. One of the most important nutrients for you and your baby is folic acid. Up to 70 percent of all neural tube defects (NTDs) — birth defects of the brain and spine — could be prevented if every woman of childbearing age took folic acid daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not only does folic acid combat NTDs, it may also help keep your baby from developing a heart defect, cleft lip, or cleft palate. Additionally, a pregnant woman needs folic acid to help support the rapid growth of the placenta and fetus. The nutrient aids in baby’s DNA production. Cell division and fetal growth can become impaired without it. And one study found that women with folic acid deficiencies were two to three times more likely to have a premature baby or a baby of low birth weight.

Learn how to boost your intake of this essential B vitamin.

Your Tip This Week
Find the Right Doctor

Your first and most important step in preparing for pregnancy is to choose a doctor or midwife to help deliver your baby. It’s vital to choose someone you trust, respect, and can talk to. Ask friends for recommendations or call your local hospital for a referral. You may want to interview a few before you make a decision. Learn more.

Things to Consider

Fertility and Age
More women today find they want to put off pregnancy until their careers are well established, or until they’ve gotten more life experience. However, research shows that women over the age of 35 suffer from more pregnancy-related problems than younger women. How great are the risks, and what do you really need to be concerned about?

Test Your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ
How much do you know about what you should be eating while you’re pregnant — or trying to conceive? Take our quiz and find out.

Prepregnancy Shopping List
Even before you start eating for two, get in the habit of shopping for healthy foods that provide the nutrients you both need. Print out this checklist and bring it to your local supermarket or health food store next time you shop.

How Much Should You Exercise?
Exercising regularly helps build bones and muscles, increases your energy level, and keeps you healthy. Learn how pregnancy affects your ability to exercise.

Coming Next Week
Do I Really Have to Give Up Coffee?

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