It is very important to stay healthy when you are pregnant, but what about being healthy before you get pregnant? It isn't just about pregnancy health anymore. Preconception health is the newest topic of choice.
Preconception health means being your healthiest before you become pregnant, and ideally even before you begin trying to conceive. 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 pregnant, 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. Not all pregnancies are planned, so every woman with the physical ability to become pregnant should take simple steps to improve her preconception health, 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, giving 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, even before they are created. So be sure to keep your body healthy even when conception isn't your first priority.