In my last post, I mentioned how happy I was to know that I started my pregnancy in great health. We talk a lot here about being healthy through pregnancy and after, but with that mindset alone, we are missing a big piece of the picture.
The reason I was so happy about being healthy before I was pregnant was because I knew this gave my baby the best chance at being healthy, too.
It isn’t just about pregnancy health anymore. It is now about preconception health.
Preconception health means being your healthiest before you become pregnant, and ideally even before you think about being pregnant. Our little ones develop so much before we have any idea that they even exist, and while being healthy throughout the pregnancy is so important, it does not even compare to the importance of being healthy during those first few weeks of development.
If you are trying to become pregnancy, it is recommended that you treat your body as if you have already conceived. This includes healthy weight and nutrition, taking a prenatal vitamin, (or multivitamin with folic acid), and ideally not smoking or drinking. Many birth defects and adverse events happen during the first few days and weeks after conception, when pregnancy tests are often still negative. This is why the focus has moved from pregnancy health to preconception health.
It is actually recommended that all women of reproductive (or child bearing) age take folic acid every day. 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, so every woman with the physical capability of pregnancy should take simple steps to improve the chance of a healthy baby, should a pregnancy occur. Vitamins are easy and inexpensive, and could make the difference of a lifetime!
By the way, folic acid is a B vitamin that has multiple benefits for mom too, not just baby. It helps prevent and treat anemia, which could give you that extra energy needed to get your workout in!
Children are amazing gifts, whether they are star athletes, valedictorians, or kids with special needs. Our job is to take care of them and to protect them throughout their lives, beginning before they are created. Preconception health awareness and improvement, including folic acid, could save your baby’s life…even before you meet her!