Top tips when planning for a baby

As soon as you decide to try for a baby, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your diet, fitness and lifestyle. Making healthy changes now, may improve your chances of becoming pregnant as well getting your pregnancy off to the very best start. Here are 5 top tips to consider:

1. Be a healthy weight

  • Being too light or too heavy can affect your chances of becoming pregnant so reaching a healthy body weight before you become pregnant is a good idea.
  • Try to make small changes such as cutting back on sweets and treats and increasing your consumption of fruit and vegetables. Swapping your white bread and pasta to wholegrain varieties and replacing fatty meats with lean meat and fish can also help drop the pounds.
  • Try get out for some long walks or go to a gym class with your partner or friend. It can be easier to stick to an exercise regime if you have a buddy.

2. Don’t forget your folic acid

  • A folic acid supplement (400ug) is recommended both before you become pregnant and for the first 12 weeks.
  • It is also a good idea to know a little more about folate (the natural form of folic acid which is found in foods is called folate) and choose foods high in this vitamin to boost your levels at this important time.
  • Foods containing folic acid include:
    • Green leafy vegetables (think of spinach, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts)
    • Peas and beans
    • Some fruits, especially oranges
    • Breakfast cereals, milk and bread that have been fortified with folic acid.

3. Cut out alcohol

  • Once you are pregnant, there is no safe limit of alcohol advised so you will need to totally avoid it. Now is a great time to cut it out and prepare for your 9 months of pregnancy.
  • Too much alcohol can also affect male fertility so having your partner cut down too may improve your chance of getting pregnant and you can support each other.
  • Cutting it out now will also help you to lose weight and save money. You could use the money you usually spend on alcohol for a weekend away together before baby arrives.

4. Stop smoking

  • Smoking and babies just don’t mix, so now is a good time to start thinking about quitting if you are a smoker.
  • Smoking can make it more difficult to become pregnant, and once pregnant, smoking is no good for you or your baby.
  • If you are struggling to give up, look for help and support and if your partner smokes too you can be a good support for each other if you decide to quit together.

5. Think about your diet

  • It is a great idea to include foods that contain iron such as red meat, eggs, or chicken in your diet. Iron is important for baby’s brain development.
  • Vitamin C is also important to help your body to release the iron from the food so stock up on these good sources of Vitamin C to boost your iron levels; oranges, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and green vegetables.
  • 800mg of calcium is recommended when planning pregnancy. If you choose a glass of milk, a carton of yogurt or an ounce of cheese 3 times a day you will be getting all the calcium you need
  • Don’t forget the sunshine vitamin; vitamin D, important for healthy bones. As sunny days are far and few between in Ireland a daily vitamin D supplement is recommended. You can also choose foods that contain Vitamin D including; oily fish, eggs and some fortified foods.

 

For more information on preparing for a baby call our free phone careline at 1800 570 570.