Below is my first discussion post for my pregnancy nutrition class. Preconception nutrition is something which is barely talked about and needs more light given to it.
The state of health between two people preparing for pregnancy is very important for conception and fetal development. Managing a healthy lifestyle prior to becoming pregnant involves both the man and the woman making a conscious effort to eat a well balanced diet, taking vitamins, and exercising to increase the chances of conception and influence a healthy pregnancy.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, emotional health prior to conception is just as important as physical health. Stress, anxiety and depression can delay conception and ensuring there is general mental stability will increase the chances of pregnancy. This is especially important for women who are already at risk or have experience with anxiety and depression, as well as a mother who has experienced mental issues postpartum. In 2008, Health.com published an article and explained that women who have experienced postpartum depression are 50% more likely to experience it with or after the next pregnancy. I have personal experience with anxiety, as I have dealt with it over the last 10 years. When I became pregnant in 2009, my mental health was stable. However, three months after I had my son, I began to experience the debilitating effects of anxiety. I was terrified of almost everything and anything that could happen to my son. I talked to my OB and received help.
Preconception health is not very different from normal daily nutrition, however there are more important vitamins to incorporate into the diet like iron and folic acid. These vitamins are found in other foods, but most people do not eat enough of it for healthy preconception and pregnancy. In my opinion, the five most important aspects of preconception nutrition include exercise, taking prenatal vitamins, having a discussion with your PCP regarding pregnancy, ensuring mental health is stable and being up-to-date on immunizations.