Optimal health before pregnancy is the goal.  It is a gift you give your baby that impacts their entire future as well as yours. All aspects of lifestyle must be faced and proactively addressed.  Making behavioral decisions and any necessary changes ahead of time enhances peace of mind and eases stress.  Be honest with yourself before pregnancy, and critically look at your life six months before you want to get pregnant.  

Start early making the best possible lifestyle decisions.  Critical areas that must be addressed:

Tobacco Use:

Any kind of tobacco use can be risky throughout pregnancy.  Smoking has been shown beyond a doubt to cause miscarriages, preterm delivery and contribute to infant death.  It can cause low birth weight and play a part in SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  Asthma and respiratory problems in infants and youngsters can be attributed to smoking.  The inhaled nicotine and carbon monoxide travel directly to the baby through the placenta. These chemicals can deprive the baby of oxygen and the essential nourishment that it needs for growth and development.  

Secondhand smoke is just as dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.  According to the American Lung Association, “Smoking during pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of low birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and some 10 percent of all infant deaths.”

Smoking cessation can be tough but it’s worth it.  You may have to “begin again” more than once, but you will be successful if you keep trying.    

Alcohol Use:

There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.  Mental and physical birth defects can be caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.  It also may result in social or learning disabilities, deformities, and even death of the baby.  Alcohol decreases fertility, even in small amounts.  

Your baby’s brain and organs are developing during the critical first trimester, when you may not have missed a period or know that you are pregnant.  Alcohol-related birth defects are more likely to result from alcohol intake during this early phase of pregnancy.  Those first few weeks after conception are crucial to your baby’s future.  Start early drinking more water.  It may sound boring but it really does help replace alcoholic drinks.  The decreased alcohol will also help stabilize blood sugar.   

Drug Use, including Marijuana

While trying to conceive, it is crucial that both women and men avoid recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs.  Of course, it is imperative for the baby’s health to avoid these substances during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Research shows that smoking marijuana decreases the ability to conceive.   

Research shows that marijuana use during pregnancy can affect your baby by contributing to malformations, low birth weight, poor growth, and brain problems.  It’s important to note that the male sperm can also be affected.  It takes about one month for marijuana to be completely cleared out of the body. It is difficult to find research that totally isolates any single drug because total lifestyle contributes to every aspect of pregnancy.  It’s always better to be on the safe side!

It’s a simple message.  If you want to give your baby the best chance for a healthy life, be honest with yourself before pregnancy.  Lower the risk of birth defects and problems during pregnancy by eliminating anything that harms the growth and development of this precious new life.  Boldly make changes and get help if necessary.  You can do it.  Just START SOMEWHERE.    

Be Honest With Yourself Before Pregnancy

Be Honest With Yourself Before Pregnancy