Page 30 - Alaska Parent Winter 2020 Digital
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Before the Baby Planning for Your Pregnancy
Not everyone gets the benefit of planning for pregnancy. But if you can plan, it can make a big difference in the health and well-being of both you and your future baby.
“The healthier you are going into pregnancy, the healthier your pregnancy is going to be,” says Dr. Sara Talken, OB/GYN.
 schedule a preconception appointment
As soon as you begin thinking about starting a family, schedule a preconception appointment with
your risk of preterm delivery and promote healthier outcomes,” says perinatologist Devika Maulik, M.D.
attain a healthy weight
your physician. Discuss your lifestyle and chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disease and mental health issues. Many health issues, if not carefully managed, can complicate a pregnancy.
take a prenatal vitamin
Ideally, six months prior to conception, start taking a prenatal vitamin, containing at least 400 mcg, available over-the-counter or with a prescription. A prenatal vitamin helps to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly, which are neural tube defects occurring in the first
four weeks of pregnancy-usually before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant.
According to the CDC, if the neural tube (which later becomes the baby’s spinal cord, spine, brain and skull), doesn’t close properly, the developing brain and spinal cord is exposed to amniotic fluid. Spina bifida causes paralysis, hydrocephalus and learning disabilities. Anencephaly is fatal to an infant, often resulting in miscarriage or death soon after birth.
“Studies also show that if you take a prenatal vitamin at least three months before pregnancy, you can reduce
Weight can affect your ability to conceive. According to, women who are underweight may have irregular menstrual cycles, and their bodies may stop producing estrogen. Obesity can make it harder to get pregnant too.
“If you’re trying to get pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, fertility greatly increases with just a five percent weight loss,” Sara says.
Being overweight can also increase the risk for pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm delivery. Ask your doctor for recommendations about how to achieve a healthy weight.
eat from the rainbow
Get into the habit of integrating more wholesome foods into your diet. Keep meals well-rounded with healthy carbs, lean proteins and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. A fish oil supplement could also help prevent preterm birth, Devika says.
Avoid restrictive diets like Keto or other low carb diets, especially while pregnant.
 30 alaska parent winter 2020/21
Story by Christa Melnyk Hines

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