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Nutrition program

Take care of your child–before you even get pregnant!

Did you know? If you’re thinking about starting a family, making small changes to your diet and lifestyle now can have a big impact on your child-to-be in the future.

3 mins
to read Jan 23, 2021

You may know about the importance of eating well and gaining the appropriate amount of weight while you’re pregnant, but did you realize that there are things you can do for your future child before you even conceive? Taking care of your child-to-be begins with taking care of yourself.

 

The first step is to check you’re at a healthy weight. As well as having an impact on your ability to conceive, your weight can influence a healthy pregnancy. Being overweight or underweight before you conceive may have an effect on the healthy growth and development of your future child.

 

Approximately 40% of pregnancies are unplanned and you might be pregnant for days or weeks before you realise, so it’s a good idea to start preconception care early. Folic acid supplements will support your child’s spine and brain development, which is crucial in the early days after conception (when you might not even know you’re pregnant).

 

The wise woman’s guide to preparing for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Strive for a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that’s rich in nutrients.
  • Consider taking a folic acid vitamin, or multivitamin/mineral supplement. Emerging evidence suggests this can have a positive effect on fertility. It will also help your child’s early development as soon as you do conceive.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. There are no safe limits when it comes to drinking alcohol so it’s safest to cut it out completely.
  • Limit high amounts of caffeine.

 

“Making diet and lifestyle choices before you conceive can promote your health in readiness for pregnancy, as well as influence the lifelong health, growth, and development of your future child,” explains Dr. Sanjeev Ganguly, paediatrician and Head of Medical Affairs at Nestlé Nutrition.

Sources

Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA et al. Diet and lifestyle in the prevention of ovulatory disorder infertility. Obstet Gynecol 2007; 110:1050-8.

Homan G, Litt J, Norman RJ. The FAST study: Fertility ASessment and advice Targeting lifestyle choices and behaviours: a pilot study. Hum Reprod 2012; 27(8):2396-404.

IOM (Institute of Medicine) and NRC (National Research Council). Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2009.

Lassi, ZS, Imam AM, Dean SV et al. Preconception care: caffeine, smoking, alcohol, drugs and other environmental chemical/radiation exposure. Reprod Health 2014; 11(Suppl 3):S6. doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-S3-S6.

Ramakrishnan U, Grant F, Goldenberg T et al. Effect of women’s nutrition before and during early pregnancy on maternal and infant outcomes: A systematic review. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2012; 26(Suppl. 1):285–301.

Sharma R, Biedenharn K, Fedor J et al. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2013; doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-11-66

Singh S, Sedgh G, Hussain R. Unintended pregnancy: worldwide levels, trends, and outcomes. Stud Fam Plann. 2010; 41(4):241–50.

Temel S, vanVoortst S, Jack B et al. Evidence-based preconceptional lifestyle interventions. Epidemiol Rev 2014; 36:19-30.

Last revised: August, 2016

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