It is essential to advise couples wishing to have a child about the timing of pregnancy and take necessary steps to ensure that the mother is in the best possible physical, mental, and emotional health when pregnancy occurs.
Things to do before pregnancy:
Both spouses are advised to perform a clinical examination to identify any health/social problems (such as domestic violence) that may affect the pregnancy and to correct them if possible.
In addition to the clinical examination, the woman must undergo some laboratory tests and perform a dental examination. It is also important to assess the psychological status of the woman.
If the pregnancy is classified as a high-risk pregnancy, the provision of pregnancy care services should be started when pregnancy is suspected and follow medical advice and necessary medical care.
The wife is advised to pay great attention to the way of her nutrition before pregnancy. So, it is recommended that she follow a diet containing ample amounts of all the essential nutrients. It is also recommended to focus on foods that contain calcium, protein, iron, B complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and folic acid while maintaining the ideal weight as much as possible.
Things to consider:
Body weight is very important during pregnancy, so body weight before pregnancy should be within the normal range for body build and height (Body Mass Index). The rate of weight gain of a pregnant woman with one child varies from one woman to another according to her weight before pregnancy, as follows:
|Weight before pregnancy
||Weight after pregnancy
|Underweight women (BMI under 18.5)
||The gain ranges from 13 to 18 kilograms
|Women with the normal weight range (BMI of 18.5 - 24.9)
||The gain ranges from 11 to 16 kilograms
|Women who are overweight (BMI between 25 - 29.9)
||The gain ranges from 7 to 11 kilograms
|Obese women (body mass index of 30 or more)
||The gain ranges from 5 to 9 kilograms
Average weight gain for pregnant with twins
|Weight before pregnancy
||Weight gain after pregnancy
|Women of normal weight (BMI of 18.5 - 24.9)
||The gain ranges from 16.8 kg to 24.5 kg
|Overweight women (BMI between 25 - 29.9)
||The gain ranges from 25 to 29.9 kilograms
|Obese women (BMI of 30 or more)
||The gain ranges from 11.3 to 19.1 kilograms
The wife who wants to get pregnant is advised to take folic acid daily three months before conception and to eat foods rich in folic acid such as cereals and legumes, spinach, green leafy vegetables, yogurt, asparagus, lettuce, red beans, cabbage, wheat, and orange juice because folic acid is important and helps prevent congenital defects of the fetus's brain and spine (neural tube defects).
It is not recommended to take iron supplements before pregnancy without consulting your doctor. It is preferable to eat foods rich in iron. These foods include oysters, legumes, eggs, spinach, beans, prune juice, and raisins.
A healthy diet should contain the following elements:
- Vegetables of all kinds, such as carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, all kinds of peppers, and leafy vegetables.
- Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
- Seasonal fruits, especially fruits, not juices.
- Milk and milk products such as pasteurized milk and cheese.
- Protein sources such as meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and legumes.
- Oils in specific quantities, especially olive oil.
- Whole grains in moderation, such as Freekeh (a cereal food made from green durum wheat ), bulgur, and brown bread.
It is recommended to limit the consumption of the following elements in a healthy diet:
- Added sugars such as soft drinks, sugary drinks, juices, processed candy, and sweets.
- Added salts such as processed meats, pickles, French fries, salted nuts, and chicken broth cubes.
- Saturated fats and hydrogenated oils such as animal fats, ghee, margarine, processed cheese, and fast food.
- Caffeine drinks such as coffee in large quantities
3. Sports exercises
It is recommended for women planning for pregnancy to exercise physical exercises such as walking for half an hour daily, regularly at least 3 months before pregnancy, and can continue these exercises during pregnancy.
4.Avoid health harmful habits
The wife or mother must not wait until pregnancy occurs to stop the health harmful habits. Rather, it is necessary to start quitting them before pregnancy, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking narcotics and drugs, whether prescribed or not.
- The effect of smoking before pregnancy: The mother is more vulnerable to miscarriage with an increase in pregnancy problems such as early placental abruption, which causes prenatal bleeding and the small size of the fetus or the size of its brain and other things.
- Health status Before pregnancy, a woman should follow up on her health condition with a doctor to ensure that her general health condition is stable and under control, especially if she suffers from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, anemia, and gynecological infections, nervous system diseases such as convulsions, psychological diseases such as depression and others.
The woman should avoid exposure to X-rays, etc. except in emergency cases because the radiation harms the fetus. In addition to avoiding contact with people who have contagious diseases such as German measles (rubella) and chickenpox.
6. Medicines and vaccines
A woman must ensure that she has the following vaccinations before becoming pregnant: German measles, tetanus, and hepatitis B. It is recommended that women postpone pregnancy for at least three months after receiving the vaccine.
- If the mother is taking medications to treat acne, she must stop using them six months before pregnancy occurs.
- If the mother suffers from a chronic disease such as diabetes, convulsions, stress, or psychological disorders, and she is taking therapeutic medications, she must see a doctor if she intends to become pregnant.
- Medical advice must be sought before taking or using any of the vitamin A derivatives. Large doses may lead to fetal malformation.
7. Correct timing of pregnancy and birth spacing
The optimal age for pregnancy is between 20 - 35 years, as this period is associated with a healthy pregnancy for the mother and fetus.
The 3-year birth spacing results in better outcomes for both the mother and the fetus.
The Source : Darby is a project funded by the Higher Population Council