For some of us, it takes a few months to see the + sign on the pregnancy test kit. For others, it might take a longer time. But before you plan on having a baby, it is important to understand that preconception health affects not only the pregnancy period but it may impact your baby’s health for a lifetime.
Whether this is your first, second, or third baby, here are some important points to check off in our list to help your body to get ready for a healthy pregnancy:
Have a preconception checkup. This helps you and your partner have an understanding of any chronic or medical conditions that you may have and what you can do to keep them under control to reduce pregnancy risks, if any.
Cost: Affordable! $250 and above (dependent on how detailed you want the testing to be!)
A healthy and balanced diet consisting of calories, protein, fibre, carbohydrates and others provides the nutrients that your body needs. Not only for yourself but also for your soon-to-be baby.
Some of the food with nutrients that are beneficial for you includes:
- Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli contain the goodness of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. These leafy greens are rich in antioxidants too!
- Citrus fruits like orange or even cereal, pasta, bread and etc for folic acid to prevent neural tube defects.
- Red meat, chicken or fish as sources of iron, that will prevent anaemia and help to form red blood cells.
- Tuna and salmon for DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid for healthy development of your baby’s eyes and brain.
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese, and tofu for calcium.
Cost: Affordable! Price of spinach $1.60 as listed on NTUC FairPrice Website!
Kick the (bad) Habits
Smoking, caffeine, and alcohol is a big no if you are trying to get pregnant. Many people think that as long as they stop once pregnant, it will be ok. No. This is not true. By then, the damage is done. These habits can cause a whole lot of problems during pregnancy for the mum and her baby. It may result in premature birth and birth defects.
Taking care of your mental health
Trying to conceive is supposed to be the start of a happy and magical journey into parenthood. But for some of us, it can get stressful; especially after months of trying and we do not get to see the little + sign we hope for on the pregnancy test kit. Stress may also as a result delay ovulation and which may also affect your pregnancy plans. Mental health plays an important part in our lives and even more so when we are embarking on the baby making journey. If your emotions overwhelm you, take a break. You can try:
- Starting an exercise routine – it can be as simple as a 30 minutes walk in the morning.
- Deep breathing for 15 minutes a day to relax your mind.
- Have another project going on in your life that helps you redirect your focus – taking up a new online course, start a new hobby, do a Marie Kondo for your house and etc
- Watch a comedy because like what everyone says, laughter is the best medicine and it gives you the endorphins your body needs
Raising a child is expensive and we all know that. From the moment you conceive, you know you will have to start stashing money away for diapers, milk, college fund, diapers, and all other baby stuff like cot, stroller, car seat, playpen and the list goes on. Not forgetting your maternity costs such as prenatal expenses at your gynae visits and also your hospital delivery charges. Simply put, you need to start a savings plan as soon as you become a parent! Talk to your insurance agent to see if there are any suitable plans to help you in planning out your finances.
Cost: From birth to age 18 – $280,000 SGD. Refer to the previous article.
Remember to discuss all of the above with your partner because the parenting journey takes a two to tango!