Healthy Living

Even before you are pregnant, a healthy lifestyle and diet are important. At the moment you discover that you are pregnant your baby’s organs are already developing, which requires nutrients from food. You also need extra vitamins and should avoid harmful substances and pathogens.

Getting enough nutrients

A healthy balanced diet is even more important when trying to get pregnant: three meals a day with a minimum of 150g of vegetables, two pieces of fruit and whole grain products. This ensures that you get the necessary vitamins. You also need the nutrients found in protein. Sources are meat, nuts, eggs and fish. You need dairy products for enough calcium. Adequate daily intake is two glasses of milk, yogurt or quark and one or two slices of cheese

Food safety

Diet advice for women trying to get pregnant is the same as for pregnant women Men should be careful with alcohol consumption as it can damage fertility.

For more information about a healthy diet and becoming pregnant can be found on this website het voedingscentrum.

Folic acid and vitamin D

Folic acid is vitamin B11. Ingesting an extra amount before and during pregnancy lowers the risk of neural tube defects. During pregnancy problems in the development of the neural tube can lead to defects of the brain or spinal cord. Take a daily folic acid dose of 0.4 – 0.5 mg from four weeks before getting pregnant (so begin before you stop using contraception) until 10 weeks of pregnancy. There are no side effects for taking folic acid for a longer period of time.

Vitamin D ensures the adequate absorption of calcium from food. Calcium is responsible for building and maintaining bone structure. Your body produces Vitamin D in the skin from exposure to sunlight and it can also be found in butter. Take 10 mcg of vitamin D daily during the entire pregnancy.

You can also choose to take a prenatal multivitamin, even if you are not yet pregnant. This also contains the recommended dose of folic acid and vitamin D.

Healthy weight

Women and men who are either overweight or underweight are less fertile. Women in these categories sometimes do not ovulate. Calculating your body mass index (BMI) can help you determine if you have a healthy weight. You can easily calculate you BMI on the voedingscentrum website.

A BMI between 20 and 25 is good

A BMI below 18.5 is too low. Try to gain some weight. Information and advice can be found on the voedingscentrum website.

With a BMI between 25 and 30, it is advised to lose weight and attain a BMI of 25 before becoming pregnant. Lots of physical activity and a healthy diet are key to reaching a healthy weight.

With a BMI above 30, it is advisable for medical reasons to lose weight prior to pregnancy. Besides fertility issues, being overweight is also associated with a greater risk of pregnancy complications.

With a BMI above 30, it is advisable for medical reasons to lose weight prior to pregnancy. Besides fertility issues, being overweight is also associated with a greater risk of pregnancy complications.

Smoking, Alcohol and dangerous substances

Smoking

If you are trying to conceive, it is a good idea to stop smoking before you are pregnant. Smoking and second-hand smoke are harmful before, during and after pregnancy. That is why it is important for both parents to stop smoking. Smoking decreases fertility in both men and women. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of complications including miscarriage, premature birth, growth restriction, clubfoot, cleft palate and detachment of the placenta. After birth, smoking increases the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is usually difficult to stop smoking. For help visit your family doctor or the Trimbos instituut. During pregnancy we are also here to help you.

Alcohol

If you are trying to get pregnant, it is better not to drink alcohol. Even one glass per day may increase the chances of harmful effects. Alcohol also increases the risk of fertility problems, miscarriage and stillbirth.

Not drinking alcohol is also better for men. Men who drink have a lower number of sperm cells which often have abnormalities.

Harmful substances

Certain substances can cause damage to fertility or a foetus. It is always good to make sure your work environment does not present any risks, such as toxic substances, chemicals or radiation. Special work clothing, a good ventilation system and other simple measures may be sufficient to protect you. You can always consult your company doctor or occupational health and safety service for advice. Also consult the RIVM website.

Medication can also have affect your fertility and your future baby’s health. This also applies to over-the-counter medications. If you have any questions ask your family doctor, pharmacist or one of the midwives. If you take daily medication for a specific health condition, your doctor may need to adjust the dosage if you want to get pregnant.

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