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Aug 1, 2013

Getting pregnant with Healthy Living

Are you planning on having a baby in the near future? Did you know that the choices you make even before getting pregnant can affect your pregnancy? Taking care of your health pre-conception can be considered one of the first steps towards becoming a good parent. Physically, a woman can and should prepare her body for pregnancy; psychologically a couple and future siblings need to be prepared as well. In tonight’s segment of healthy living, we team up with the National Committee for Families and Children and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women & Children to talk about very early parenting tips.


(Video: July 2011 – Courtesy Candice & Shaun Ayala:


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Globally, it is estimated that only about half of pregnancies are planned, so not every couple gets the opportunity to rejoice at the news of an expanding family.If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, you should know that parenting skills come into practice even before conception. A healthy baby begins with a healthy pregnancy and a healthy pregnancy begins with a healthy body. Gynecologist, Doctor Mauricio Navarrete, shares some of the ways that a woman can prepare her body for pregnancy.


Mauricio Navarrete

Dr. Mauricio Navarrete, Obstetrician Gynecologist

“So there are some basic recommendations about how a woman should prepare her body for a pregnancy. First of all, women should do a yearly checkup. Do a pop-smear, do a basic general check up with their cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, to try and prevent any pre-existent conditions that might affect the pregnancy or at least to detect them if they are so. Women should start using vitamins, specifically folic acid. The recommendation is usually about three months before they get pregnant or attempt to get pregnant. The idea is to build up folic acids in their body. This is a major concern for many of us because folic acid can prevent neural tube defects, unfortunately, the neural tubes forms within the first five-six weeks of pregnancy.  So by the time women come in at six weeks for consultation, if they are deficient in folic acid there isn’t anything much that we can do about. So the idea is for them to build up folic acid in their bodies. Something as little as one milligram of folic acid a day is all they need ideally three months before they get pregnant.”


Taking proper of the mother’s body is crucial.  That means getting any weight problems under control and taking a proper break between pregnancies.


Dr. Mauricio Navarrete

“They should aim for an ideal weight. All women, all persons should know what their ideal weight is. So if they are overweight, they should try to reduce their weight as close as possible to their ideal weight. And if they are underweight, then to take it up. Again a nutrition before pregnancy will show a better outcome. Those are the major recommendations for women preparing is child spacing as well. Patients should at least try to have at least two to three years between their children when they have normal delivers. For C-sections, the recommendation would be even longer. However, many women don’t heed to this. Many women basically have children almost yearly and it does pose some risk to their health and family lifestyle. The risks vary from emotional, financial and physical. Of course you know the more children you have and the space, there is a financial strain on the family. But this goes beyond just family restraints. There is bonding. It is known that the bonding between an existing child and a mother is affected if another baby comes along. Of course, a woman has to take care of a newborn; she is not going to bond as much as her existing child. It does affect the length of breastfeeding and for the mother. Remember that pregnancy takes a toll on the mother’s body and then poor child spacing leads to anemia and malnutrition which is one of the major side effects of poor child spacing.”


But mom isn’t the only one who needs to be ready. Preparing the rest of the family is crucial. The first discussion should be with your partner. Mommy & Daddy, brother or sister need to all be on the same page before the baby has arrived. Professional Therapist,Tina Augustus shares some advice on how to broach the subject.


Tina Augustus, Professional Therapist

Tina Augustus

“First of all you have to find a calm time, a time that he has free and you have free where you can have an open and frank discussion with him. You would definitely want to talk about finances…how you guys would be able to afford the baby. What that would look like in terms of cost. One of the most important things to also to do is talk about their children. How did he grow up? How did you grow up? What type of parenting styles you saw growing up as children and how you would either want to continue those traditions or want to change it up a bit in terms of as individual and as a family. For instance maybe a man might say my dad wasn’t around as much and he wasn’t changing as much diapers and say I wanna play a role in that. And it would be a great time to start that discussion. And obviously as the child comes into the world, you would see how it works out. But as he or she reaches five and different milestones, you will continuously continue having that dialogue to see how you want to continue rearing the child. Another discussion that you would want to have is genetics. What do you bring to the table? Is there Alzheimer’s in your genes? Is there diabetes? What is it that your family history has? It is important to have that discussion so you know during conception there are certain things that you need to look out for to talk to with your doctor about as well. It’s very important to have a conversation with siblings. The idea of just coming home with a baby or mommy’s belly is growing…it is not an ideal situation for a child. Jealousy is very common among siblings. So to try to deal with that as early as possible, you want the child to be involved from the get go. It largely hinges on age. You will definitely be using age appropriate language depending on how old the child is, but you will try to keep that child involved from the get go. Talk about being a big brother or being a big sister…what that was like. And one of the basics things is that children like to hear when we were young. So if mommy and daddy can talk about when I learnt I was having a brother or sister, when growing up with a brother or sister; what that experience was like too as well. So that they know that they are not alone in it. Encourage them to constantly talk to the baby, be a part in setting up the crib, putting up the clothes and so forth. Have them be a part as best as possible because it is also their family and you want to do that as early as possible and in age appropriate language. You don’t want them to feel left out because it is pretty much inevitable they will be a little bit jealous because mommy’s time is not only for one child. So having them being a part of it from very early and talking to them about it cause they might have questions. What does it mean mommy? A baby in your belly? What does that mean…it is important to start discussing.”


The overall goal is to have a physically healthy mom to be a better receptacle for a healthy fetus and a mentally prepared family for hospitable environment for baby.  If you’re thinking of having a baby, schedule a check up with your doctor to initiate the discussion or visit the nearest maternal and child health clinic in your district.


We’ll have another edition of parenting tips on Thursday August 29.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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