Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Healthy teeth for a healthy baby

The more I read about pre-conception planning, the more I'm surprised by what's important. For one thing, you apparently have to take extra care of your teeth during this time.

I'm in the process of getting a wisdom tooth (and by the way, there seems something vaguely icky about planning a pregnancy when I'm still growing teeth), so I will have to get checked out in the next couple of months to make sure everything's going ok there. Obviously dental X-rays and surgery are things to be avoided in pregnancy if at all possible.

But I've also read in several places that you need to be really careful with your gums, because gum disease can increase the risk of premature labour. Which sounds completely insane, but I did learn in university that it can contribute to heart disease, so I suppose it must be pretty bad for the body in general. Weird, though, right? So I'm trying to be better about flossing, in order to develop good habits well in advance. My dentist would be proud. Bit of a pain, though.

It is a bit easier to motivate myself to be healthy if I can think of it in terms of being good for a possible future baby. I'm luckily in good health generally and so I don't ordinarily have much motivation to change my diet or lifestyle (both ok, but could always stand to be better. I'm lazy). But if I can think of these changes as things that will help me to have a healthy pregnancy, that's a pretty good motivator.

And I have seen a lot of online snarking about how encouraging women to be healthy in order to have a healthy pregnancy supposedly reduces us to just being "vessels for babies". I have very little time for that. Wanting a good pregnancy outcome does not diminish the mother as a human being.

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