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Healthy Mom, Healthy Dad


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Preparing for a healthy pregnancy. What you should know about planning for a healthy pregnancy before you start trying to conceive. Advice for both men and women on preconception health.

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Healthy Mom, Healthy Dad

  1. 1. Healthy Mom, Healthy Dad Conceiving of Becoming Parents Presented by Ann Douglas, Author, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books
  2. 2. Health and lifestyle changes • Preconception • Pregnancy • Early Parenthood
  3. 3. Conception Countdown: Three Months Ahead
  4. 4. Schedule a preconception checkup Health and lifestyle issues Genetic counseling or genetic testing (age, family history, ethnic background) Know details about your family’s health history and your mother’s obstetrical experiences
  5. 5. Know your own gynecological and obstetrical history (abnormal PAP smears, history of STDs, prior surgery, miscarriages, abortions, etc.) If there are issues you’d rather not discuss in front of your partner, let your healthcare provider know ahead of time.
  6. 6. Make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations. Your healthcare provider will want to check that you’re immune to both chicken pox and rubella. Both are live vaccines, so you should have these vaccines at least four weeks before you start trying to conceive.
  7. 7. One-third of women with diabetes are so symptom-free that they aren’t even aware that they have the disease. Risk factors include being overweight, not exercising regularly, having developed gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, and being related to someone with diabetes.
  8. 8. If you are diabetic, your odds of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby increase if you are able to get your blood sugar under control before you become pregnant and keep it under control during pregnancy. That means balancing eating with exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking any medications that are prescribed by your doctor.
  9. 9. If you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease, lupus, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other serious health problem, your doctor will want to ensure that your condition is under control and verify the safety of any medications you may be taking.
  10. 10. If you’re currently being treated for depression or anxiety or you’ve struggled with mood disorders in the past, your health care provider may want to switch you to a different medication or come up with an alternate treatment game plan once you start trying to conceive.
  11. 11. In addition to encouraging you to eat well, exercise, and pay attention to your need for sleep, your caregiver may encourage you to write out a plan that spells out all the specific strategies that have worked well for managing your mood disorder in the past.
  12. 12. Your medicine cabinet is likely filled with over-the-counter and herbal products. They may contain ingredients that could affect your fertility or be harmful to you or your baby-to-be. Don’t take a chance: find out what is and isn’t safe for you and your partner to take once you start trying to conceive. Rx: Healthy you
  13. 13. Contraceptive game plan If you’re on the pill, it could take a few months for ovulation to resume—or you could start ovulating almost right away. (Use a back-up method of birth control.) If you’ve been using Depo-Provera, it could take up to a year for ovulation to kick in, so allow some extra lead time.
  14. 14. Visit your dentist Gum disease increases the risk of a preterm delivery, so you want to make sure that you’re in good dental health. And if you do need dental treatment, it’s best to schedule any x-rays and treatments involving medications before you start trying to conceive.
  15. 15. Play Workplace Health Detective Employers are required to provide employees with details about the types of materials they are working with on the job. Your partner should also do some digging, even though it can be difficult to get some employers to acknowledge that reproductive health issues are an issue for fathers, too.
  16. 16. Two Months Before
  17. 17. Get the Folic Acid Facts Most North American women only consume 100 mcg of folic acid through food sources (roughly 1/4 of what we need). Note: If you have previously given birth to a child with a neural tube defect or you have diabetes or epilepsy, you will need approximately 10 times the recommended amount.
  18. 18. Take folic acid throughout your childbearing years. Realize that folic acid is for Dads, too (it helps to maintain sperm counts). Dads also need zinc (which helps to improve sperm volume), and vitamin C (which helps to improve sperm movement).
  19. 19. Eat a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables each day, and reduce your intake of fat. Focus on foods that are rich in iron and calcium and—if your healthcare provider recommends it— consider taking a multivitamin supplement, too. (Don’t overdue it with vitamins A or D. Too much of either nutrient can be unhealthy for the baby you hope to conceive.)
  20. 20. Don’t crash diet right before or during pregnancy. If you’re heavier than you’d like to be, try to get to within 15 lbs of your goal weight before becoming pregnant and then switch to a maintenance diet of 1800 calories per day while you’re trying to conceive. Be Weight Wise
  21. 21. Obese mothers face an increased risk of experiencing a number of pregnancy and birth-related complications, including high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, giving birth to an overly big baby, and a higher rate of perinatal death.
  22. 22. Of course, it’s not healthy to be seriously underweight either. Women who are too thin are at risk of experiencing fertility problems, of giving weight to a low birthweight baby, of experiencing a preterm delivery, or of becoming anemic.
  23. 23. Being physically active during pregnancy can help you to deal with some of the less-than-wonderful aspects of pregnancy: backache, leg cramps, and breathlessness. It also boosts your energy, improves your mood, and helps you to cope with stress.
  24. 24. Physically active women find it easier to keep their pregnancy weight gain on track and to manage the pain of labor— two more great reasons to get fit now. Note: Ask your doctor if you have any health conditions that would make physical activity inadvisable for you now or once you become pregnant.
  25. 25. One Month Before
  26. 26. Kick Some Butts A woman who smokes is less fertile and she faces an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and of giving birth to a low birthweight baby, or a baby with breathing difficulties, learning and behavioral problems, or of losing a baby to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  27. 27. And a recent study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health concluded that, from the standpoint of the developing baby, there’s no appreciable difference between being exposed to second-hand smoke and having a mother who smokes. So tell your partner to “butt out,” too.
  28. 28. No one has ever been able to determine a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Stop drinking once you start trying to conceive. Ditch the drinks and the drugs
  29. 29. Moms who drink during pregnancy face an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, of giving birth to a low birth weight baby, and of giving birth to a baby with potentially severe birth defect. Drug use during pregnancy can have equally devastating consequences for the developing baby.
  30. 30. The party lifestyle can also take its toll on the male reproductive system. Alcohol can bring down sperm counts, and marijuana makes it difficult for sperm to travel toward and penetrate the egg.
  31. 31. You don’t have to cut out caffeine entirely, but because excessive caffeine intake has been linked to both fertility problems and an increased risk of miscarriage, moderation is definitely the name of the game. Go easy with the java
  32. 32. Positively Pregnant
  33. 33. Find out about food safety Steer clear of raw fish as well as fish that contain potentially risky levels of mercury; undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, hot dogs, and deli meats; refrigerated patés or meat spreads; refrigerated smoked seafood (unless it has been cooked); soft-scrambled eggs and all foods made with raw or lightly cooked eggs; unpasteurized soft cheeses; unpasteurized milk
  34. 34. and foods made from unpasteurized milk; unpasteurized juices; raw vegetable sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, and radish; herbal supplements and teas; and foods that may trigger a food allergy in babies born to parents with a history of food allergies. (Consult a food allergy specialist for details in planning your pregnancy diet if you or your partner has a history of food allergies).
  35. 35. Let other people handle household chores that could be hazardous to you and your baby-to-be (e.g., using paints, solvents, or pesticides; changing kitty litter; and cleaning rodent cages or any messes created by wild mice). Delegate the dirty work
  36. 36. Keep your cool, Dad Wearing boxers or no underwear at all results in a lower scrotal temperature (and a more sperm-friendly environment) than wearing briefs. Working with a laptop on your lap can be detrimental to sperm, as can wearing bicycle shorts and riding for more than two hours a day, six days a week; or hanging out in hot tub and saunas.
  37. 37. And Mom, too.... Overheating related to hot tub use has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. The experts advise that prospective mothers avoid any activity that could cause their temperature to soar above 102°F. That includes vigorous exercise on hot days, too.
  38. 38. Your Life as Parents
  39. 39. Fitness Give some thought to workouts you can enjoy with your partner and your baby. Some ideas: Go on walks or hikes with other families with babies. Sign up for parent-and-baby fitness classes.
  40. 40. Do a childcare swap with another couple with a baby so that you can take turns hitting the gym with your partner. Set up a workout area at home (it could be as simple as a collection of workout DVDs and an area to work out in front of the TV, with a baby swing in close vicinity).
  41. 41. Give some thought about how you’re going to get healthy meals on the table in your post-baby universe. Consider Looking for healthy “convenience foods” (remember convenience foods don’t have to mean junk) Batch cooking (tripling a recipe; making extra meals on the weekend) Nutrition
  42. 42. Making lists of easy meals that you love (your own recipes; friends’ recipes; etc.) Cooperative cooking (supper clubs, getting together with a group of friends to do some batch cooking together, going to a mealtime preparation facility, etc.) Breastfeed your baby. It’s the healthiest and most convenient feeding choice available.
  43. 43. Take care of your physical health: sleep, exercise, healthy nutrition, time for fun, relaxation management techniques (for some people, spirituality). If you drink, drink in moderation. And make sure you understand the risks associated with intoxication and bed sharing. Stress management
  44. 44. Exposure to second-hand smoke is associated with an increased risk of sudden-infant death syndrome. Continue to make your relationship as a couple a priority, even though you’ll be busy meeting your baby’s needs (25% of new parents are no longer together by first child’s fifth birthday).
  45. 45. Focus on the other key relationships in your life: friends and family. These people are your support network for the times when the going gets rough. Don’t neglect your own personal need for fun and self-fulfillment. Try to find time to do some of the activities that you enjoyed before you started your family, even if it’s just one afternoon or evening a month initially.
  46. 46. Make sleep a priority for your new family. Accept offers of help from other people so that you and your partner can maximize your opportunities for sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation will make you moodier, less creative, more irritable, and less able to deal with the challenges of new parenthood. Be sleep savvy
  47. 47. Learn as much as you can about infant sleep patterns so that you won’t be frustrated about your baby’s sleep patterns—and you won’t feel pressured to solve a “sleep problem” that isn’t really a sleep problem after all. Learn which techniques tend to be most effective in soothing newborns and encouraging newborns to go to sleep.
  48. 48. Realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all sleep solution. It’s important to take into account your baby’s temperament and stage of development; your parenting style; and your family’s unique needs and circumstances when you’re trying to decide which approach to take in dealing with your baby’s sleep problems.
  49. 49. Set aside time to think these issues through yourself and to talk about them with your partner. Here are some of the important issues that you should plan to talk about both prior to the birth of your baby and on an ongoing basis during the early years. Conceive of the type of parent you want to be
  50. 50. How would you describe your parenting values? What kind of parent do you want to be? What kind of parenting style can you see yourself having: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive? Think about how you’re going to make sense of all the conflicting parenting advice.
  51. 51. Understand that there’s often more than one “right way” to do things when it comes to parenting: your partner’s way may not be the wrong way, just because it’s not your way Think about ways of handling disputes over child-rearing issues when you’re sleep-deprived and your sense of humour has gone AWOL.
  52. 52. Ann Douglas is the author of Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler and Mealtime Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler and the bestselling books in The Mother of All Books series.