Planning for a baby — getting it right before pregnancy
Many women in Africa continue to suffer silently, terrorized by their mother in laws and stigmatized by their very own community when they are deemed to be “barren”. The blame is always shifted to the woman when so many years down the line there is no child to be shown of the marriage. But men also suffer from similar predicament albeit from their peers. Men are most often subjected to great humiliation from their peers who consider them lesser men because they are unable to get women pregnant. They are denied a place in the high table because they are considered “boys” and the high table is where only men with “bragging rights” of sons and daughters are allowed to seat. More often all these can sometimes be changed by making healthy choices.
The biggest challenges that have come with Africa abandoning its culture and embracing the Western culture wholesomely include; increased cases of Obesity, excessive alcohol intake and ignoring some nutritious indigenous foods. All these factors combined may make it a little more difficult for a healthy mum and Dad to get that pregnancy they so desire.
Mum and Dad working as a team can stack all the odds in their favor and not only get that longed child but also give the future baby the very best start in life and the very best chances of long term good health and well-being. So, start to think about your health 3-4 months in advance. Lose those extra few pounds, cut right back on alcohol, stop smoking if you or your partner do smoke and make small dietary changes now — they will all benefit your health, and that of your baby to come, both now and right into the future.
In Africa where more women are concerned with their health than men, it is important for the men to know that Dad’s health and lifestyle habits can also affect the health of the sperm and therefore the baby’s chances of good health throughout their lives.
Even though the 21st African mom is busy juggling career with study and family, before you even become pregnant and embark on the exciting First 1000 Days journey, it’s a good idea to start thinking about nutrition, fitness and lifestyle. All these are important factors in setting you and your future baby up for the best possible experience.