Spring is springing up all around us. What a wonderful time to think about new beginnings! That’s why May is the perfect time for Pregnancy Awareness Month. There’s no greater beginning than a new healthy pregnancy.
If you’re expecting, right now your baby is a gleam in your eye, a song in your heart, a wish about to become true. Most importantly, you’re doing everything to prepare for your new baby. I’ve collected these 4 steps to prepare you for a healthy pregnancy:
- Step 1: Eat well. The March of Dimes recommends that you eat six ounces of whole grains (such as breads, pasta, and rice), 2½ cups of vegetables, 1½ to 2 cups of fruits, 3 cups of milk products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese), and 5 to 5½ ounces of protein (such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and eggs) each day.
- Step 2: Exercise well. It’s important to be at a healthy weight when you get pregnant. Being overweight or underweight can affect your pregnancy. One way to check your weight is by using a measurement called body mass index (BMI). Google “BMI” to find charts and calculators online. If you need to get in shape, try low-impact exercises such as walking or yoga. Added benefit: a boost to your mental health! Don’t worry if you did not start your pregnancy at an ideal BMI. Your doctor can work with you on the ideal weight gain for your pregnancy.
- Step 3: Give up vices. If you smoke, quit. If you’re around secondhand smoke, avoid it. If you drink, switch to tea. If you take drugs, seek help. Now. There is absolutely no safe amount of smoke, drugs, or alcohol for your baby. Period. There is a lot of help and support available for moms who need it and you can speak with your doctor about what resources may be available.
- Step 4: Do your research. The field of healthcare and medicine are making tremendous strides to advance treatment options now and in the future. One of which is saving your baby’s cord blood stem cells for your family or donating your baby’s cord blood stem cells for others. Cord blood comes from a newborn’s umbilical cord and can be collected immediately after birth. It contains powerful stem cells that have been used to regenerate healthy blood and immune systems. So far, cord blood stem cells have been used in more than 35,000 transplants worldwide.1 Doctors are also researching cord blood as potential treatment for conditions that currently have no cure. You can find out more here: http://www.cordblood.com/.
As you prepare for pregnancy, my wish for you is a healthy, happy mind and body—for you and for your baby. Here’s to your health and happiness!
About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a mom of three sons, family practice physician, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, in Lexington, KY and a paid consultant to CBR.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your healthcare provider directly for medical advice, diagnoses, and treatments. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health or the health of your baby, consult your physician.
- http://www.wbmt.org. “Media Fact Sheet: 1 Million Blood Stem Cell Transplants Worldwide” Accessed 05/27/2016.