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Gustong Mabuntis? Experts Say You Need To Avoid This One Thing
  • Women often receive conflicting advice when it comes to preparing for pregnancy. Many of us aspire to have a smooth and healthy pregnancy, but the pressure to look perfect during and after conception can be overwhelming. It's important to remember that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy, as each experience is unique. Whether we get our fantasy pregnancy or not, we need to gear up for this exciting journey. Here are some recommended steps to prepare for parenthood.

    Trying to conceive? 5 tips on how to prepare for motherhood

    1. Start with a healthy diet.

    Initiating a healthy diet lays the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. With a healthy eating habit, this provides the mother essential nutrients so the body is capable of accommodating another growing human being inside her and also to adequately nurture her own nutritional needs. It's important to avoid yo-yo diets or restrictive eating during this time. Instead, opt for a well-balanced diet by selecting the right foods.

    Incorporating protein into your diet is crucial, not only from animal sources but also from plant-based options such as your tofu, beans, and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), which are excellent sources of iron.

    While some may label fat and carbohydrates as enemies, it's important to consume healthy fats and low glycemic index complex carbohydrates alongside your protein intake. Your nuts, tofu, and fish are excellent sources of healthy fats that benefit heart and brain health, as well as aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

    Your low glycemic index and complex carbohydrates include berries, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and lentils, providing sustained energy throughout the day.

    Your caloric needs should be calculated based on your height, weight, and daily activity level, so consulting a nutritionist or health professional is advisable. If that's not within your budget, there are free apps available to calculate your caloric needs and help you monitor your nutrition.


    The role of folic acid and iron supplements

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taking 400mcg-500mcg of Folic Acid before pregnancy and during the first trimester to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. Adequate iron intake is also recommended, especially during pregnancy and post-pregnancy while breastfeeding. According to WHO, adult women and adolescent girls with regular menstrual cycles, including Filipino women, should aim for 30-60 mcg of elemental iron daily.

    What to avoid

    In order to fulfill a balanced diet, we definitely need to avoid alcohol as it has “empty calories” that our body does not benefit from. Moreover, too much of it won’t help us absorb essential vitamins like vitamin B. 

    Smoking and illicit drugs must be avoided entirely, including exposure to secondhand smoke, as they increase the risk of miscarriage. Consuming large amounts of vitamin A from sources such as liver, cod liver fish oil, and vitamin A supplements should also be avoided during pregnancy, as it can pose risks to fetal health. If you have questions, consult your physician.

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    2. Exercise.

    The Australian Journal of General Practice recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week or 30 minutes on  most days. Even simple cardiovascular exercises like walking can suffice. However, it's crucial to focus on pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles endure a lot of strain and pressure during pregnancy and childbirth. When pelvic floor muscle weakens during child birth, our recovery is delayed. Later in life, women are at risk to develop urinary incontinence and prolapse. Pelvic exercises, including Kegel exercises, which involve repeatedly contracting the pelvic floor muscles as if holding in urine, can be done alongside other exercises like squats. Yoga and Pilates are alternative workouts that strengthen lower muscles and complement Kegel exercises. These low-impact exercises build strength and endurance, essential for carrying a baby and baby-related items for extended periods.

    3. Know your immunity.

    Aside from nutrition and exercise, you also have to make sure that you have the right protection in terms of communicable diseases. When we were younger, we might have received some immunizations and that shielded us from getting complications from viral illness. However, through time, we might lose the immunity or were not completely immunized.


    There are vaccines that cannot be given during pregnancy and there are illnesses which we needed to avoid during pregnancy. Your chicken pox (Varicella), Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine that we avoid to give during pregnancy due to fetal complications. We also do not want to get these viral infections during pregnancy as the risk of maternal and fetal complications are high. In saying so, we need to get ahead of our protection before we become pregnant. One way to know if you have immunity is through blood test. Talk to your physician regarding this for further assessment and proper dosing. 

    4. Involve your partner.

    Having a good communication and timeline planning with your partner are essential as you embark on this new chapter. Of course, for soon-to-be dads, they are not exempted. Men’s health is vital to keep the sperm healthy which is the other half of a successful conception. A well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is just as important for men, plus the avoidance of alcohol, smoking and other illicit substances.


    According to National Institute of Health in the Journal of Reproduction and Infertility, a 2018 study by Fallah, et.al, found that Zinc has an antioxidant property that helps in sperm quality. Your zinc rich foods are your spinach, eggs, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and lean meat.

    5. Manage stress.

    None of these strategies will be effective if we are leading a stressful and sleep-deprived life. Stress is inevitable, but knowing how to manage it makes a lot of difference. Nutrition and exercise is one but making sure that you have proper self-care. Giving even just an hour for yourself each day gives you that breather and space to just think about your needs. Doing a meditative practice, reading a book, or spending time with a loved one is a good way to do it. These activities help in lowering your stress levels.

    For women experiencing menstrual cycle issues and individuals struggling with fertility, consulting a fertility expert (OB-Gyn) is essential. However, these five steps provide a solid foundation for a positive outcome and may lead to the desired, smooth pregnancy. Although they require time and effort, the rewards become evident when you welcome your little bundle of joy into the world.

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