Preparation Before Having a Baby

Preparation Before Having a Baby

Folic acid is very important for having a healthy baby. If there is not enough folic acid in the mother’s body, the chances of serious birth defects in the brain and spine of the baby increase.

If you plan to have a child, you need to make some preparations several months in advance. This increases the chances of a mother and baby being healthy.

Folic acid

Folic acid is very important for having a healthy baby. If there is not enough folic acid in the mother’s body, the chances of serious birth defects in the brain and spine of the child increase.

It is necessary to have enough folic acid in the mother’s body at least one month before the child is born. Therefore, it is recommended to take this step a few months before conception. When you plan to conceive, start taking folic acid tablets.

Is it possible to meet the requirements for folic acid in food?

We get folic acid from some foods. For example, spinach and kale However, the amount of folic acid needed by the foetus cannot be met by food alone. Hence, it is recommended to take folic acid tablets separately.

How much folic acid should I eat?

The dose of folic acid tablets should be at least 400 micrograms. However, in some cases, higher doses may be required. For example,

  • If your weight is much higher than normal,
  • If you have diabetes,
  • If the seizure medication is continued,
  • If either spouse has a family history or a previous child has a birth defect in the brain or spine.

If you have any of these, consult a doctor to know the dosage of folic acid tablets.

Vaccination

Vaccinations protect the mother and unborn child from various diseases. So if you are planning to have a child, you should get it if you haven’t already.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis B virus infection during pregnancy can lead to severe disease. Mother-to-child can also be infected with this virus. Therefore, the hepatitis B vaccination is especially important.

Before administering the hepatitis B vaccine, healthcare providers conduct a blood test to determine if you have been exposed to the virus. If uninfected, three doses are given. Getting fully vaccinated takes several months. So it is better to start the vaccination early. Women can also receive this vaccine during pregnancy.

Tetanus vaccine

If you have not completed a course on the tetanus vaccine before, then start this course as per your doctor’s advice. This vaccine is popularly known as the ‘TT vaccine’. This vaccine will help protect you and your newborn against tetanus.

Administer the second dose of this vaccine one month after the first dose. Complete two doses at least two weeks before delivery. A third dose is given six months after two doses. A three-dose vaccine provides protection against tetanus for at least five years.

Other vaccines

Apart from this, if other necessary vaccinations have not been taken before, then this should be reported to the doctor. For example, if two doses of the ‘MMR vaccine’ are not given, the unborn child may get rubella. This can lead to heart, brain, eye, and ear problems—and even miscarriage.

The MMR vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. Administer the MMR vaccine before conception. Avoid childbearing for 1 month after vaccination.

Iron:

Many women in our country suffer from iron deficiency anemia, but they do not know that they are suffering from this disease. Lack of sufficient iron in food and bleeding during menstruation can cause iron deficiency due to various reasons.

It is especially important not to have iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy.

Pregnant mothers suffering from this disease can have various complications. For example-

  • Having a premature baby, i.e., giving birth too early
  • Weight loss in babies
  • Risk of stillbirth

So if you are planning to have a baby, consult a doctor to see if you have this disease or not. If the disease is diagnosed, it can be completely cured with just a few months of taking iron tablets.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. The mother needs adequate vitamin D for the healthy formation of various organs, including the teeth and bones of the baby in the womb.

A national survey of Bangladesh shows that one in five women in Bangladesh is vitamin D deficient. It is very difficult to make up for vitamin D deficiency from food alone. Normally, the body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Not going in the sun, covering almost all of the body with clothes even if you go in the sun—these are the reasons why many women are deficient in vitamin D.

Consult a doctor to find out if there is a deficiency of vitamin D in the body. Remedying vitamin D deficiency is easy. The doctor can tell you how much vitamin D to take to make up for the deficiency.

Caffeine

Caffeine consumption by the mother during pregnancy may harm the baby. Several studies have linked maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy to low-birth-weight babies. Underweight can cause various health problems in children. Consuming caffeine during pregnancy can also increase the chance of miscarriage.

Doctors advise pregnant women to avoid consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Doctors advise not to consume more than 200 mg of caffeine a day, even if you cannot avoid it completely.

Cutting down on caffeine suddenly can be difficult for many people. So if you have a habit of drinking tea and coffee, try to reduce your caffeine intake in advance.

Foods containing caffeine are:

  • Tea and coffee
  • Coke
  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Chocolate

How much tea or coffee contains 200 mg of caffeine?

A typical 350-millilitre cup of tea contains 75 mg of caffeine, and an equivalent amount of instant coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine. So do not consume more than 2.5 cups of tea or 2 cups of coffee per day during pregnancy. But in addition to these, eating other caffeinated foods should also reduce tea and coffee intake accordingly. It is best to avoid altogether.

Weight

It is very important for the mother to have a normal weight before pregnancy. If you are planning to have a child, check whether the weight is right or not.

If the weight is more than normal

Many diseases can occur during pregnancy if the body weight is higher than normal. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia

In addition, the baby’s shoulders may become trapped during childbirth, there may be heavy bleeding after delivery, and the delivery may not be normal and may require a cesarean section.

These problems can occur even if the weight is normal. However, if you are overweight, the risk of developing them increases by 2 to 4 times.

Although the risk is higher if you are overweight during pregnancy, you should never try to lose weight during pregnancy.

If the weight is less than normal,
Even if the weight is less than normal, some problems can occur. For example, the baby may be underweight or premature, i.e., may be delivered before the due date.

You can check your weight and height in a BMI calculator to know your correct weight. If the weight is less or more than normal, take action accordingly.

Healthy Food:


Developing healthy eating habits is very important when planning to have children. We usually don’t have much rice on the plate and eat it with a little curry. But in this way, complete nutritional needs are usually not met.

Do what you can to meet your nutritional needs.


Instead of having rice first on the plate, have more vegetables first. Try to fill half of the plate with vegetables and fruits.

We usually don’t have fruit on the plate while eating. Eat fruit before or after a meal or for breakfast, and think in your mind that if you put it on the plate, the fruit and vegetables will fill half of the plate.

Then take non-vegetarian food to one-quarter of the plate. For example: fish, chicken, pulses. And in the remaining part of the plate, i.e., the fourth part, take rice or bread. Use red rice and red flour instead of white rice and white flour.

Avoid certain foods. For example-

  • Fast Food
  • ‘Highly processed food’, i.e., extra processed food
  • Foods with excess oil, fat, sugar, and salt.

Store foods are often loaded with oil, fat, sugar, and salt to make them palatable. Before purchasing food from outside, it is important to check the amount of oil, fat, sugar, and salt used in it.

Exercise

It takes a very long time from conception to childbirth. During this long period, the mother’s body undergoes a significant amount of stress. You can prepare the body for this stress by exercising.

In addition, exercise increases the chances of getting pregnant and reduces the risk of various pregnancy-related diseases. e.g., pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes

Smoking

Smoking can adversely affect fertility in both men and women. Even if someone smokes around the expectant mother, the chance of a low birth weight increases by 20 percent.

Therefore, if someone in the family smokes, they should quit.

Disease Control

There are some diseases that are important to keep under control during pregnancy.  Consult a doctor and understand your health issues. For example,

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and seizure or not, and how to control them?
What diseases do other family members have?
If a medication is continued during pregnancy, what modifications should be implemented?
What should I do now if there is a problem with the previous pregnancy?
A doctor will tell you what to do about these things. Care must be taken not to omit informing the doctor of any matter related to your health.

Written by Dr.Tasnim Zara

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