Bayo Ajibola


Finally, as a married couple, you have pinned down the decision to raise and grow a family. But the question is, have youprepared yourself enough for the responsibilities you will bear of being parents? Allow us to walk you through the vital things you need to consider with regards to your decision of having your first baby. Let us guide you from assessing or evaluating your relationship to getting you into right shape.

What must both partners consider before starting to procreate?

It is very helpful if you and your partner will ask yourselves the following questions, before taking the plunge:

  •          Does becoming a parent is equally both your commitments?
  •          Are you aware about how to handle responsibilities in childcare and rearing as well as balancing work and family all at the same time?
  •           Are you ready for the drastic change in your bedtime or sleep time schedule?
  •          Can you afford hefty babysitting rate if you want to go out without your baby and leave the care to a babysitter?
  •          Are you both partner well aware of the impact and changes in your lifestyles for becoming parents and how it affects the relationship between you and those closest and dear to you?
  •          Have you equipped yourselves of the tendency that your baby may have special needs?
  •          If in instances that you and your partner have religious differences, have you made discussions as to how it can affect your child?

The impact of having a baby on your life is quite intense. It can even shake the center of your universe. Some new parents who are unprepared may find this situation very overwhelming.  Indeed, it is essentially and basically important to prepare yourself of the ups and downs of parenthood as well as how you can cope up with the change. Think about how you will feel and listen to it.

Are you financially capable & ready to have a baby?

Apart from love and affection that you’re going to shower to your baby, you also have to be financially secured and ready to provide your baby with the basic needs such as food, medicine, clothing, among other things essential to your baby’s health and growth. It is therefore wise and important to save financially before getting pregnant and throughout your journey as a couple and family.

Do I need to change my eating habit if I plan to conceive?

If you are determined on conceiving a baby, eating well and consumption of the right kind of food is greatly important. Always choose for a balanced diet on your three major meals a day, including a portion of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Below are 4 most vital nutrients for a healthy start of pregnancy:

  •          Folic acid
  •          Calcium
  •          Iron
  •          Vitamin D

To ensure you have these essential nutrients in your meals, include the following:

  •          Dairy produce
  •          Fruit and vegetables
  •          Whole grains and cereals
  •          Lean meat, fish, eggs and nuts or pulses

You can also take vitamins specially formulated for expecting moms. These are antenatal supplements that contain 400mcg of folic acid, a B vitamin which helps prevent neural tube defects in developing babies, also known as spina bifida.

Depending on situations or prescription from a doctor, some pregnant women are required to take more amount of folic acid up to 5mg. You should not take high-dose supplements or any other medicine without the advice from health professionals. Folic acid and other natal supplements should not be taken as substitute for a balanced and healthy diet.

Moreover, if you are trying to conceive a baby, you must lower down your intake of caffeine as it can affect your fertility. Keep your caffeine intake level below 200mg a day. Caffeine levels in coffee or other caffeinated drinks vary, but it is important to be mindful that 2 cups of coffee may contain about 200mg of caffeine.

Can body weight affect my fertility?

Hormonal imbalance may take place regardless whether you’re underweight or overweight. This can affect your fertility, making you less likely to ovulate. It can also lead to complications or high risk in pregnancy. Therefore, it is completely important to maintain and achieve a perfect and healthy weight before you start to conceive. The ideal body weight base onBody Mass Index (BMI) that can increase the chances of conception and healthy pregnancy is between about 19 and 25.

If your BMI is higher than the desirable rate and your menstruation is irregular, start bringing down your BMI to have a fat chance of conceiving. Dropping your BMI level between 10% and 20% of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle that can promote healthy conception.

Do not crash diet if you are overweight so as not to deplete your body’s nutritional stores. Instead, aim to lose weight ideally between 1lb and 2lb by sticking to a healthy balanced diet with low fat and low sugar foods and most importantly combine it with proper exercise program.

If you are underweight, do not fret, try gaining a few pounds and you will eventually be viable of conception. Being underweight affects ovulation and if you happen to conceive, you have a high risk for miscarriage.

Putting on some weight is very simple. You just need to gain extra calories from healthy food choices and not mainly from sugary and fatty foods. And just like with being overweight, do not crash diet.

Can I exercise more before I start to conceive?

The perfect foundation for a healthy pregnancy is getting fit before the conception period. Boosting the expecting woman’s stamina, flexibility and strength can poster you to:

  •          Enjoy the whole nine months of pregnancy through maintaining of a proactive lifestyle
  •          Boost up your mood and energy level
  •          Achieve a healthy and ideal pre-pregnancy weight
  •          Deal with hormonal shifts of pregnancy properly
  •          Cope up with the rigorous labor and delivery when due date comes

Taking a regular exercise and being active will help strengthen your back muscles and may help in dozing off lower back pains in the later stage of pregnancy. Try to observe regular exercise into your everyday life. You can achieve this by simply taking a walk or using the stairs instead of the lift.

Running and jogging are other alternative ways in getting a good shape before pregnancy. Start taking a brisk walk now if you don’t prefer running. It is also good to be reminded that running and jogging must not be started for the first time during pregnancy. It is needed to start yourself slowly and don’t ever push yourself too hard in achieving an exercise program. It is highly suggested to seek advice from health professionals regarding an ideal exercise program prior and during pregnancy.

Is smoking, drinking of alcoholic beverages and taking drugs harmful when you are expecting?

Absolutely yes, all these vices can be very harmful if you are planning to conceive a baby. The strong components of these substances can be very dangerous and harmful to the fetus.  It is therefore important to quit smoking, quit drinking alcohol or take only little amount and quit taking drugs if you want to conceive so you can develop a healthy baby.

Substance from cigarettes such as nicotine can affect and reduce women’s fertility level. So much more with taking recreational drugs like cocaine and marijuana as it can affect the tubal and ovulatory function which can make it harder for a woman to conceive. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can also affect a woman’s fertility, therefore, it is important to talk with a qualified doctor regarding your medication if there are any pre-existing medication before you start conceiving.

It is also important for woman trying to conceive to know the danger of alcohol to the fetus and how it can affect the ability to conceive. It is best and ideal to stop this habit before conceiving as well as try not to get drunk prior and during your pregnancy in order to achieve a successful conception and pregnancy. If you feel the need to drink these alcoholic beverages, avoid drinking too much and try to reduce to the desired and suggested amount so as to reduce the risk during pregnancy.

All the above mentioned harmful substances can increase the risk of miscarriage, having premature birth and low birth weight in babies. Too much amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy can seriously affect the babies’ development. Therefore, if you are trying to conceive you should be mindful and cautious of all these harmful substances that may lead to a failure in conceiving for a baby.

Bayo Ajibola

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