Before Baby Bump: 10 To-Dos -- and a few Don’ts -- for Prospective Moms
March 29, 2017
When you’re trying to get pregnant, the “don’t” list can be overwhelming. Alcohol and smoking are obvious no-nos. But there are plenty of “dos” for prospective moms, too. Some are everyday things you can still enjoy while preparing to conceive. Others are important steps you should take before becoming pregnant.
- Do see your OB/GYN doctor two to three months before you start trying to conceive. Get screened for anemia, check your thyroid and start talking about alternatives to prescription or over-the-counter medicines you take.
- Do get a flu shot. Pregnancy can weaken the immune system of pregnant women, so this preventative step is essential to keep you and baby healthy.
- Go see your dentist, too, and take care of any dental issues. Pregnancy can cause inflamed and swollen gums, which leaves moms-to-be more susceptible to gingivitis -- a risk factor for preeclampsia during pregnancy.
- Do get dad-to-be on a healthy path. Lack of key vitamins can affect sperm, and your partner should also stop smoking, decrease drinking, reduce caffeine, exercise and avoid environmental toxins for best chances at conception.
- Go ahead and clean up after your cat. That old warning has been disproved about the litter box and risk of contracting toxoplasmosis (a flu-like illness that can cause blindness and mental disabilities in newborns). But do, of course, wash your hands after disposing of kitty’s mess.
- Do enjoy a cup of Joe -- in moderation. One to two 12-ounce cups of coffee a day have been found to be a safe amount for prospective moms. But don’t caffeinate more than that. A recent study found that when men or women drank three or more cups of caffeinated drinks a day, the woman was nearly twice as likely to lose the pregnancy.
- Do eat the peanuts – unless you’re already allergic. It’s a myth that babies develop peanut allergies if pregnant moms consume these legumes.
- Do choose fish wisely. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are good for you and baby, so aim for two servings a week. Salmon, tilapia, shrimp, pollock, cod, catfish and canned tuna are fine. Don’ts include high-mercury fish like swordfish, shark, tilefish and mackerel.
- Go ahead and get the color. There’s no conclusive link between hair dyes and birth defects. Beauty don’ts include getting botox and using retinoids such as Accutane for skin conditions.
- Do relax. Chronic stress can hinder the hypothalamus signals which trigger your ovaries to release eggs. Guys should heed the stress alarm as well. Testosterone levels and sperm production have been found to be affected by stress in some studies.
One last do/don’t: whenever you’re unsure if something is good or bad for you and baby-to-be, do ask your doctor or maternity care provider. Don’t believe what you hear from friends and relatives without checking with an expert.