During the 1,000-day window between pregnancy and age two there are critical steps to take to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy development. The right prenatal care will allow for a more prepared pregnancy and ensure once the baby is born, they receive proper nutrition allowing them to thrive. With the right information and steps taken families will feel more confident and readier to take on parenting.
Pregnancy: The First 270 Days
During the first 270 days let go of habits that are harmful to fetal development such as smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption.
- Smoking during your pregnancy can lead to complications such as pre-term labor, an ectopic pregnancy and placenta abruption. Smoking can cause your baby to have a low birth weight and can increase the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). E-cigarettes are also harmful and can cause the same complications. It is critical that you surround yourself in a smoke free environment as second and third hand smoking also pose a great threat to a healthy pregnancy.
- Talk to your health care provider to make sure any prescribed medications you may be taking will not harm your baby. You might need to stop taking a certain medicine or switch to one that’s safer for you and your baby. Make sure that any provider who prescribes you medicine knows that you’re pregnant.
- Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can also cause several health complications. Consuming alcohol during your pregnancy increases the chances of your baby being born pre-maturely, having a low birth weight, having birth defects and developing fetal alcohol syndrome.
Harmful activities like these mentioned also put you at risk for having a miscarriage or stillbirth. Talk to your health care provider if you need help to quit smoking and consuming alcohol.
It is also important to develop healthy habits such as eating fruits and vegetables as well as exercise. Eating plenty of foods rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA and iodine will help your baby’s growth and development during pregnancy. It is important to continue exercising during your pregnancy by doing light activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates. It is also advised to get a pertussis and a flu shot to protect your health and the health of your baby.
Birth – 1 year: 365 days
After your baby is born it is important to immediately have skin-to-skin contact for at least one hour and as often as possible. Babies that have a lot of skin-to-skin contact are more likely to breastfeed well and often. If possible, your baby should be breastfed within the first hour of birth, or begin pumping milk within 6 hours of giving birth. When you breastfeed, your baby is supplied with the right amount of nutrients. Breastmilk is gentle to the baby’s stomach will change to meet the growing needs of the baby. When you begin breastfeeding the first milk you produce is thick and yellowish, this is called colostrum. Colostrum is filled with protective ingredients that will prevent allergies, viruses and infections. It is important that your baby receives colostrum as it is like an immunization. Breastfeeding has many benefits and one of the most important is the shared bond you develop with your baby, breastfeeding is something only you can gift them with. Breastfeeding can also help you be less likely to develop postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a type of depression that some women get after having a baby, symptoms include sadness, anxiety and tiredness that can last for a long time after giving birth. If you have postpartum depression you may feel it is hard to bond with your baby and these feelings can make it hard for you to take care of yourself and your baby. Although breastfeeding can help reduce your chance of post-partum depression many women will still develop these feeling and it is important to know you are not alone and can seek help from friends, family and professionals.
1st year – 2nd year: next 365 days
After your baby’s first birthday the next 365 days are crucial to developing healthy habits. A nutritious diet and active play are essential to set children up for success. At one-year children are very observant and will learn from their parents’ and peers’ attitudes and behaviors toward food. Taste preferences develop during this stage of life therefore it is important to eat the same healthy foods you are giving your child. Active play such as moving, crawling, talking, singing and walking are some of the best things you can do for your toddler’s development. Talking, Reading and Singing to your child is a brain building activity and will help them develop brain connections, encourage a love of books and boost their language development. It is never too early to help your child learn.
The first 1,000 days will set you and your child up for success and will help them feel prepared to enter school as active learners.
First 5 San Diego offers home visiting services for pregnant women and families with children ages 0-3. First 5 First Steps promotes positive parenting and enhances child health and development for families who may face hardships and stressors that place them at increased risk for poor health and developmental outcomes. Our services are offered over the long term to prepare children to enter school as active learners, and ensure that all children are healthy, loved and nurtured. (Straight off website).
Please call (1-888 – 5 First 5) or (1-888-534-7785) for more information about how to receive these services.