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Prenatal

Pregnancy

Things I wish I had known before my first baby!

Yup – that’s me! 2 years and 8 months ago. Almost 40 weeks pregnant with my first baby and not quite sure what to expect after the baby was born.

I did what most pregnant women do. I listened intently to the advice and stories of all the other moms around me – my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, aunts, friends and even random women in the grocery store. Everyone had a story or some tidbit of advice they wanted to share.

I also tried to read every book and article related to pregnancy in a last ditch effort to prepare myself for what was to come.

Looking back now, it was super overwhelming and just a bit over the top. Ha! That sounds like me.

Inevitably, by the time my 2nd pregnancy rolled around, the “overachiever” in me was too exhausted by my crazy toddler to even pick up a book. And honestly, I felt I didn’t have to. I had mentally compiled a list of all the things I wish I had known the first time I was pregnant and ready to give birth to a tiny human.

I call it my list of “Wish I Had Known’s”.

Here are a few things “I wish I had known” before having our first baby:

  1. Expect the Unexpected…for life

“My pregnancy, labour and delivery went exactly the way I had planned” said no mom EVER. Be prepared to just “go with the flow”. Sounds cliché I know, but it has become my mantra. Letting go of plans was the absolute hardest thing I had to do from labour and delivery to my baby’s sleep and feed schedules to handling my toddler’s meltdowns.

  1. The first 12 weeks are going to be HARD

This is one of the single most important things every mom should know. The first 12 weeks or fourth trimester (as it’s often called) is super duper tough. It calls for survival mode. Recruit help as often as you need and just keep your head down to get through it. It gets better, promise.

  1. You will not sleep (soundly)…again

Even if your baby is a “sleeper”, you still will not sleep soundly every again. You will worry constantly. Is your baby still breathing? Is your baby too hot? Is your baby too cold? Do they have enough blankets? Did they wet the bed? Are they home from that party? Etc.

  1. Your Post Pregnancy Body WILL be different than your Pre-Pregnancy Body

And that’s more than okay. It’s amazing! It will forever be your reminder of the truly remarkable, life-changing thing that you did.   You will have a few more stretch marks, there may be some weakness or a scar, but look at what you’ve created! Be easy and kind to yourself and to your body. It’s recovering and healing and it will feel different and may not be what you had expected (see number 1 above). But it’s still yours to love.

  1. Motherhood may make you feel more vulnerable than ever before, but you are NOT alone

Many, many women feel isolated after childbirth. You question your identity, your ability as a mother, your body. Your sense of confidence is shaken by the challenges that come with a new baby and it may leave you feeling raw, emotional, and vulnerable. You are not alone. At some point, almost every single mother goes through this and please know that the transition to becoming a parent isn’t an easy one for anyone, no matter what instagram portrays! Talking to someone will help. I promise.

  1. Girl, trust yourself!

We all have natural maternal instincts. Trust your gut! It may take a bit of fine tuning and honing but they’re there and they will help you figure out what’s right for your baby.

 

Honestly, I wish I had known half of these things before my first baby was born. But that’s how life unfolds. You learn those key life lessons from experience not from Chapter 4 of a pregnancy book. You’ll get there mama!!

 

xo

Dr Aliya

 

Pregnancy

Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy: Q & A

My friend, mommy blogger and soon-to-be-mama Jessica Glaze popped into The Toronto Yoga Mamas studio last week. Jessica is mama to Carter and Monroe and is expecting her third little one in the next couple of weeks! She’s definitely got a glow on but she knows that being a mom to 2 let alone 3 babes isn’t an easy feat! We did a chiropractic treatment on her to get her feeling good and ready for baby #3.

In light of her visit, I thought I would answer some frequently asked questions about receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy that I receive from many of my pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant mamas.

Q. What are the benefits of receiving chiropractic care during my pregnancy?

Pre-existing and often unnoticed imbalances in the pelvis and spine become stressed during pregnancy.  In addition, the weight of a growing uterus has a tendency to change a woman’s biomechanics, shifting the center of gravity and putting pressure on joints of the hips, pelvis and lower back. These things make everyday activity increasingly difficult for a pregnant woman.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy.  Specific adjustments (such as the Webster technique) eliminate the causes of stress in the spine.

Here are some specific benefits of receiving prenatal chiropractic care:

  • Decreasing back and pelvic discomfort and pain
  • Increasing the ease in which the body adapts to the natural changes related to pregnancy
  • Aligning the pelvis and lumbar spine allows for optimal baby positioning and growth
  • Shorter labour and delivery times after pelvis and spine are in correct alignment
  • Reported greater ease and comfort during birthing, reduced need for pain relief medication and medical intervention (forceps, vacuum) during childbirth

Q. Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care is absolutely safe through all trimesters of pregnancy as early as the first month and does not harm the growing fetus in any way. Special pregnancy pillows, wedges and supports are used during treatment to ensure you are comfortable and relaxed.

jessica glaze 2

 

Q. Will the treatment be painful?

Not at all! Prenatal chiropractic care involves the Webster Technique.

The Webster Technique is a gentle yet specific chiropractic adjustment designed to help ease the symptoms of an unbalanced pelvis and misaligned spine.  The goal of treatment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation and SI Joint dysfunction.  In so doing, the biomechanical function of the pelvis is improved. In addition, we will spend some time releasing tight muscles and ligaments in the areas of the body that are holding tension. You will walk away feeling like a new person!

Q. Can chiropractic help turn breech babies?

Using the Webster Technique, a chiropractor may gently open up and align the pelvis as well as release any tension in the ligaments of the uterus, allowing baby space or room to move into the proper head down position naturally. If the baby is in correct position, the technique also helps to maintain that ideal positioning leading up to delivery.

The Webster Technique has been found to have an 82% success rate in clinical studies for breech babies (JMPT July/August 2002).

 Q. I’m pregnant! When can I start receiving chiropractic care?

Congratulations!

You can start receiving care as soon as you would like! There isn’t a specific set time to begin care. However, in my experience, the earlier – the better!

Including chiropractic care early on in your prenatal care and wellness routine will only help keep you feeling amazing throughout your pregnancy! Many mamas that are under my care during their pregnancies (and beyond!) report significant improvements in their sleep, quality of life and overall health and general wellness.

 

Dr. Visram is incredible! Her enthusiasm and warmth makes you comfortable instantly. It was my first time going to a chiro and I went due to back pain for pregnancy. I went from hardly being able to sit at my desk to being totally pain free! She takes extra time with each patient to make sure that you are comfortable and at ease. She is a great source of information for pregnancy related health and wellness!” – J.V

“I’ve been seeing Dr. Aliya throughout the third trimester of my pregnancy. I have avoided back aches and discomfort by seeing her once a week. I actually never thought in a million years I would feel this good in my final weeks. I’m so grateful to Dr. Aliya for her wisdom, caring nature and knowledge. My baby is in a good position too, and I’m sure that’s because of having regular treatments. – J. M

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy

5 Tips to Reduce Pregnancy Related Back Pain

Hi Guys!

So I had the opportunity to be interviewed by CTV news this past week about one of my passions – prenatal care!  As it happens, this month is also Pregnancy month for the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

I love helping mamas-to-be to feel their very best during their pregnancy :)

Check out the video below for 5 easy tips to reduce pregnancy related back pain.

http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1036715

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy

My Top 4 Maternity Must-Have’s

 

Many mamas don’t realize this at first, but being pregnant is an amazing time to, well, SHOP!

There are so many things a little baby needs especially if you are expecting your first – onsies and sleepers, cribs and gliders and so, so much more!

But wait….what about YOU?

With a growing belly, comes the need for maternity clothes! Yay!   And that’s not all….there are a few key items that every mama needs at her fingertips during her pregnancy to help make the next 9 months smooth sailing….somewhat.

Here are just a few of my favourite maternity must-haves:

 1) Joyous Health’s Belly Bump Butta (BBB)

Let’s talk pregnancy stretch marks.

A growing belly and tightening skin often damages the collagen fibers that give skin its supple elasticity resulting in those dreaded stretch marks. But even if you don’t get any stretch marks (lucky you!) – you may feel some amount of tightness, itchiness and occasional burning around your belly. Using a good quality belly butter certainly does help!

My must have belly butter is Joyous Health’s Belly Bump Butta. I spend a few quick moments after every shower or bath rubbing it into my belly.

I love this particular belly butter more than any others on the market because it doesn’t have a super overwhelming scent. My 2nd pregnancy gave me some super weird scent aversions but Joy’s belly butter has a really light grapefruit citrus scent, which isn’t overpowering at all and in fact is a bit refreshing. It also goes on super smooth and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.

Plus, Joy donates 10% of each Belly Bump Butter sold to organizations helping mamas-to-be in developing countries have safer births. Bonus!

2) The Honest Leaf’s Nourish Tea

During this pregnancy, I’ve become a pretty big loose leaf tea fanatic.

Maybe it’s because I’ve limited my caffeine intake and I’m looking for something hot to drink or because my body is just craving the nourishment of a yummy, organic tea.

In any case, I was recently introduced to The Honest Leaf – a line of loose leaf wellness teas created by nutritionist, Shelby Kroach. Her tea combinations are wonderful and my fave during pregnancy is the Nourish Tea.

It’s a smooth blend of organic rosehips, elderberries, calendula and green roobios among other nourishing ingredients and you can literally taste the healthy goodness in each sip. Also, I found it helped stave off the nausea associated with morning sickness! YAY!

3) My Awesome Pair of Paige Maternity Jeans

Ok, so you’re retaining more water and your belly is starting to get a bit bigger and let’s be honest, the energy you spend getting yourself into your favourite pair of jeans is equivalent to doing a one hour spin class. Girl, it’s time to pack away your fave skinny jeans and spring for a pair of – dare I say – maternity jeans.

But don’t worry, maternity jeans have come a long, long way and there are so many flattering styles available now. Frumpy, boxy, shapeless stretchy “pants” are a thing of the past!

My favourite pair of maternity jeans are my Paige Denim Verdugo Distressed Ultra Skinny Maternity Jeans.

I actually bought these from a close mama friend who wore them during her pregnancy and sold me on how great they look on anyone. I didn’t believe her until I tried them on. She wasn’t joking. These jeans are super soft, super comfortable, super stretchy and will make your legs and butt look amazing! I could sleep in these jeans!

Mamas, invest a few bucks in some good quality jeans for your pregnancy – you won’t be sorry I promise!

4) Boppy Total Pregnancy Pillow*

As both a chiropractor and a 2nd time mama-to-be – I can’t stress the importance of getting a good quality pillow for sleep during pregnancy. The earlier you start using one, the better. I treat a lot of mamas in my practice whose aches and pains can be prevented by using a good quality pillow in the right set up from the first trimester. Ideally, you want to position the pillow between your knees, lower legs and ankles. You also want a bit of support (think a wedge) under your growing belly.

My Boppy pillow is my husband stand-in most nights! This particular pregnancy pillow comes in three parts – head and neck support, belly support and hip/leg/ankle support.- that all velcro together. It’s handy because if you don’t want to use one part – it is easy to detach and remove.

(*I’m not sure if you can get the Boppy in Canada anymore.  I’ve heard the Snoogle is a good alternative)

Listen mama, the next 9 months is going to be filled some serious, unbelievable changes – some are amazing and exciting and others are well, not so amazing. Luckily, there are tons of great resources, products, services and advice that will help make your pregnancy as smooth as possible.

xo

Dr Aliya

Pregnancy

The Ups and Downs of My 2nd Pregnancy

Pregnancy number 2? No problem…..right!?!

I mean, we’ve done this before. We know what to expect. The morning sickness. The weight gain. The sleepless nights. The raging hormones.

We got this. This will be a cake walk, right?

Ummm….not so much. Not for me, anyway. My 2nd pregnancy was anything but a cake walk.

I wish I could tell you that I had the best time being pregnant the second time around. That I loved every single minute of it. That I relished my pregnant belly and all of the lovely, beautiful emotions that came with growing a tiny human inside.

The truth is, I wasn’t the glowing, lovely, smiling pregnant lady that you see on the street caressing her baby belly and looking absolutely radiant.

I felt like crap and I struggled with my 2nd pregnancy every step of the way. And to be honest, there wasn’t one real reason why.

Maybe it was because right from the first trimester, I was already dealing with some pretty intense emotions surrounding my father’s diminishing health.

I felt I was unable to feel elated and happy about a new baby when my father was dying. Nothing about the situation was easy and my exponentially increasing hormones made dealing with grief incredibly difficult.   I was an emotional train wreck, barely holding it together for my family and for my toddler.

My toddler. She was a whole other story. Try chasing after a 2.5 year old…..pregnant. It’s not pretty. I know my mamas with 2 babes can agree – nothing about being pregnant and having another kid to care for is rainbows and sunshine.

All you want to do is — LIE. DOWN.

Plus, they aren’t old enough to understand that you just can’t piggyback them all the way to the park, which leads to a bunch of whining and inevitably a tantrum. And I’m sorry – you actually can’t manage to get your butt down that kiddie slide in the park anymore….physically you just can’t (have you seen my butt lately? Think Kim Kardashian but more saggy)

Let’s add in the fact that in August, I got pneumonia. Yup. Walking pneumonia. How did I get pneumonia? I still have no idea.   Run down immune system, no sleep and high stress. A perfect storm which led my body to eventually break down.  And as my mamas know, when you’re pregnant and sick…it takes a while for your immune system to get back up and running again! A long while.

OK, so those were the downs.

Don’t get me wrong — there are some serious “ups”, too.

My 2nd pregnancy gave me the opportunity to appreciate all the little movements this little bean has had in my belly.

Second time around, there is no question – you know what you are feeling and every time, he/she moves or kicks…I feel like it’s a tiny miracle in my belly. Like a little blessing that kicks you to remind you how damn lucky you are.

Second time around, you get to share every little experience with your first little bean. Rosie’s eyes light up every single time she puts her tiny hands on my belly or feels a little movement. She kisses “her baby” every morning and every night and it gives me all the feels.

Second time around, your partner isn’t completely oblivious or in the dark as to what you need as a pregnant lady. They know that you aren’t crazy when you get weepy at a YouTube Dove commercial (seriously, those things are tear jerkers). Or that cleaning the house, top to bottom, is just a part of your nesting. Or that your ice cream craving is for real and they’d better get a Haagan Daaz in your hand, stat.

Listen mamas, you don’t have to feel like a glorious pregnant goddess all the time. You are allowed to feel crappy and you are allowed to feel “ugh” about your pregnancy. It’s not all shiny happy pregnant women all the time. I’m here to tell you – it’s OK. Feel your feels and allow yourself space to just be….whatever.

Soon you’ll have that tiny little bean in your arms…..

…..that’s when the real fun begins.

 

xo

Dr Aliya

Pregnancy

Surviving Morning Sickness!

You’re pregnant! YAY!

You are glowing, feeling amazing and couldn’t be happier. Everything around you is sunshine and smiley faces.

Enter morning sickness. (aka all day and all night sickness)

Suddenly, you feel a little less glowy and smiley. And you’re spending most of your day wrapped around the toilet. Ugh.

Up to 85% of pregnant women experience some degree of nausea and vomiting related to their pregnancy.

Symptoms of morning sickness usually begin around weeks 4-6 after conception and continue until the second trimester. However, it is not uncommon to feel some degree of nausea throughout your entire pregnancy.

Why does it happen?

Your pregnant body is undergoing a ton of physiological changes. Remember, you are creating a tiny human and your hormones are going crazy – elevating exponentially. Nausea and vomiting is one of the by-products of that change. In addition, some theorize that morning sickness is the body’s way of self-regulating itself and potentially nature’s way of protecting the body from substances that could be harmful for baby.

Here are a few tried and true ways I’ve used to conquer the queasies:

  • First, nausea is often worse on an empty stomach especially after taking some pretty potent prenatal vitamins. Eat small, frequent meals through the day and make sure you take your vitamins with some food in the morning.   In addition, consistent, light snacking will prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping drastically and preventing nausea.

 

  • Eating the right foods is important to help stave off nausea but also to help keep your tiny human nourished. Incorporate protein and fats into each meal. I found that I was more sick if I didn’t have enough healthy fats in my daily diet (eg. add some avocado to your meal, or add coconut oil or coconut milk to your morning smoothies).

 

  • Get some shut-eye! It may seem totally unrelated, but getting some extra sleep can make a huge difference to how you are feeling. Fatigue makes nausea worse! Going to bed a bit earlier or squeezing in a nap here and there will definitely help.

 

  • Ginger works wonders for nausea. Drinking enough fluids, especially when vomiting is super important since dehydration is one of the most serious consequences of morning sickness. However, many women, myself included, find that water doesn’t sit well with nausea. Ginger tea has been my saving grace! Try adding some grated fresh ginger to a cup of boiling water.

 

  • Vitamin B6 is a terrific tummy soother! Find it naturally in foods like bananas, currants, salmon, sweet potatoes, turkey, sunflower seeds and walnuts.   (Check with your health care practitioner to see if you are getting enough of this vitamin)

 

  • Acupuncture and acupressure is amazing at easing morning sickness especially for women who experience nausea symptoms through their second and third trimesters.

Hang in there mama… soon you will have a cute tiny human in your arms and your morning sickness days will be totally forgotten!

(If your symptoms persist and are worsening – it’s always a good idea to see your health practitioner)

PS.  One of my favourite new apps for pregnancy nutrition is Nourished Babe.  The app contains a wealth of knowledge and expert guidance from dieticians, pediatrician Dr Dina and moi!  Check it out here or download it from the App Store!

xo  Dr Aliya

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy

My 5 Favourite Yoga Poses To Do in Pregnancy

You’re pregnant!  Yay!

But…you’re also achy.  Your body is stiff.   And you still want to keep active?  Give YOGA a go!

If you haven’t already heard, the benefits of prenatal yoga are endless.  From keeping your body moving to strengthening the back and pelvis to practicing some amazing breathing techniques….the list goes on and on.

While pregnant with my daughter, Rosie, prenatal yoga was one of the only things that kept me from going crazy in those last few weeks before her arrival!  It provided me a sense of inner calmness and helped reduce the swelling in my ankles…it was a win-win.

I’m often asked by mamas-to-be if there are any particular yoga poses I suggest they do more than others.  And while all prenatal yoga poses are amazingly beneficial – I do have some personal favourites.  In this video, I share with you my 5 favourite prenatal yoga poses!

 

1. Cat-Cow Pose

2. Child’s Pose

3. Reclined Cobbler’s Pose

4. Deep Squat Pose

5. Legs Up the Wall Pose

These poses are so helpful at any stage in pregnancy.  They keep the pelvis and hips aligned and increase mobility and strength.   Give them a try today mama!

 

 

 

Pregnancy

What is the Group B Strep Test?

If you’ve got Group B strep during pregnancy, you might not even know! Testing positive for this strain of bacteria sounds super scary – but there are ways to help keep you and baby healthy during pregnancy and delivery.

What is Group B Streptococcus?

Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, is just one of the many different types bacteria that normally live in our bodies. These bacteria live harmoniously in our bodies without us even knowing, aiding with digestion, helping to boost our immune systems and generally keeping us functioning optimally.

How will I know if I have GBS?

The GBS screening test is a vaginal and rectal swab performed at approximately 35-37 weeks of pregnancy to test for the presence of Group B Strep bacteria.

How common is it?

GBS naturally occurs in about 10-30% of healthy pregnant women and has a 1% chance of passing from mother to baby during labour.

How will Group B Strep affect my baby?

In newborns, GBS is a major cause of meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and sepsis (infection of the blood).

What’s the best way to prevent my baby from getting Group B Strep?

Sounds scary, but take a deep breath!  There is good news. Research shows that antibiotics given to pregnant women at the start of labour or from the time their membranes rupture (waters break) can prevent most GBS infections in newborn babies. If you are GBS positive, you will receive IV antibiotics when you are in active labour and /or if your water breaks.

Prevention?

Here’s even better news! Often a GBS positive result can be prevented before the screening test occurs.

Dr Sapna Flower, naturopathic doctor at Restore Integrative Health, offers these two recommendations to help decrease your chance of a positive result:

  • Take a high-dose, good quality oral Probiotic
  • Use a Tea Tree spray along the perineum (5-10 drops of tea tree in 1-2 cups of water in a squeeze bottle).  Apply spray to the perineal area after every trip to the washroom – starting at 32 weeks

If you’ve had a history of vaginal infections, seeing a naturopathic doctor can also be beneficial during pregnancy.

 

Pregnancy

Prenatal Yoga: Is It Safe Late In Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women often ask me about the different ways they can keep active during the later stages of their pregnancy.  It is quite common for their regular exercise routines – running, cross-fit training or resistance training – to become increasingly painful and uncomfortable in their the 3rd trimester.

Never fear mama…Yoga is here!

 

Yoga is a great way to keep active during all stages of pregnancy, but especially in the later stages of pregnancy.  While previous exercise routines focused on strength building and high impact cardio exercise like running, yoga focuses on stretching, relaxation and breathing which can help through the last stages of pregnancy and prepare the body for labour and childbirth.

However, there are a few precautions you should take when you are pregnant – even in a yoga class!

Remember every pregnant woman’s favourite hormone – relaxin?  Relaxin is the hormone released to help “relax” and open the pelvis, giving your baby the space it needs to descend into the pelvic inlet and pass through the birth canal.  What you may not know is that relaxin also affects other joints in your body, and can create hyper mobility (or looseness around joints that should be stable).   You may notice that getting into certain postures or poses may be easier than before pregnancy and that your flexibility has increased. These effects however can result in injury due to the instability or looseness of your joints.  Pushing yourself too far can cause you to damage a joint or over-stretch a ligament or muscle.  You may not even feel the result of this damage until well after baby is born and after the relaxin has left your body.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your next prenatal yoga class:

  • Tell the instructor how far along you are in your pregnancy and if you have been experiencing any joint or muscle pain or discomfort.
  • Avoid any poses that put your head below your waist this includes downward dog in the later stages of pregnancy (try the posture against a wall instead of on the floor).  It’s a good alternative and gives you the openness in your chest and shoulders that this pose encourages.
  • Focus on standing poses with both feet planted at a hip width distance apart for stability.
  • Take advantage of savasana (or dead body pose) in side-lying position as an opportunity to connect with yourself and your baby.
  • Avoid the straight arm plank.  The plank position puts too much pressure on the connective tissue that keeps your abdominal muscles together (particularly if you have Diastasis Recti – abdominal separation).  Try side planks instead!

And most importantly, enjoy a few moments of relaxation and practice your breathing!  Only a few short months left!

Om, Mama.

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing mama and baby advice & resources at BabyPost.com.

For more information on prenatal yoga, visit torontoyogamamas.com 

(Original post at babypost.com)

Health + Wellness

Q&A: What should be on your pre-conception to do list?

Q. My partner and I are thinking about having a baby. What are the best natural steps to prepare my body for pregnancy? Should I start taking vitamins now? Can I continue to exercise?

A. Congratulations! Deciding to have a baby is an exciting time and being prepared is key.  Creating healthy habits during this “preconception period” helps minimize complications during pregnancy and delivery and gives baby the best possible start.

Now is the time to visit with your health care practitioner and schedule your preconception care. Talking about things like diet, lifestyle, medications and family history are important to prevent any future problems or difficulties for mom and baby.

Nutritionally preparing your body before trying to conceive is an ideal way to ensure you’re pregnancy-ready.  Dr. Sapna Flower, a naturopathic doctor at Restore Integrative Health, suggests taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 1 mg of folic acid (and if you’re 35 years or older, supplementing with 5 mg of folic acid) approximately 3 months before conception.

Up to 70% of fetal neural tube deformities can be prevented if sufficient levels of folic acid are taken during the earliest weeks of conception. Speaking with a naturopathic doctor about which supplements are well formulated and ways to naturally improve your chances of conceiving can help.

Lifestyle modifications, such as ceasing to smoke and avoiding alcohol are at the top of the list during the preconception period and beyond. Smoking has been shown to decrease fertility and increase the chances of having a low birthweight or premature baby. Excessive amounts of alcohol have been shown to interfere with the fetus’ ability to receive a healthy amount of oxygen needed for brain and organ development.

Exercising regularly will also ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy. An exercise plan will help to lower your risk of pregnancy related conditions such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle will benefit your body before, during and after pregnancy.

Here are a few other “to-do’s” on your pre-conception list:

Do avoid toxic substances or infectious substances at home and at work.

Things like pesticides, solvents, mercury, lead or radiation.

Do learn your family history. 

Identifying genetic diseases in your family history before pregnancy gives your health provider a chance to talk with you about any possible risks and may refer you for genetic counseling or testing.

Do make sure your body is balanced and healthy. 

A body free of aches and pains will function optimally.  Seeking the care of a chiropractor or massage therapist will keep your body in check.

Do address any questions or concerns you have with your health care provider. 

This is an exciting time for you and it is important to be prepared and informed!

Find my Q&A Expert column and other amazing pregnancy and baby advice at BabyPost.com

(Original post at babypost.com)