It's National Women's Health Week, an awareness event created by the United States government to promote practices that support a woman's health and well being throughout her lifetime.
As part of this effort, the Womenshealth.gov website has created checklists, fact sheets, and helpful resources to help women lead a healthier life at any age/stage, including during the childbearing years. I spent some time reading through the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum resource pages on the site in order to share with you what I think you'll find most helpful.
According on your age group, Womenshealth.gov provides tailored steps you can take for daily and yearly health, whether you're in your 20s or your 90s. Each age group provides a checklist of things to do. For example, if you're in your 30s, it's important every day to:
- eat healthy
- get 30 minutes of physical activity
- sleep 7-8 hours a day
- take 400-800 mcg folic acid
- learn 6 more daily tips!
Yearly recommendations for women in their 30s include talking to your doctor about family planning, mental health, and family medical history, especially cancer. There are also several suggestions for tests, medicines, and vaccines during this age in your life. Learn more by visiting the general health section for all age groups.
Pregnancy & Postpartum Health
If you are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or recently had a baby, you'll want to check out the many, easy-to-read through maternity resources that Womenshealth.gov offers. They are divided by four sections: before pregnancy, during pregnancy, new baby prep, and childbirth/early parenthood. Each section is further broken into top-level subsections containing topics all on one page that you can expand and collapse as you read through. There are glossary links for concepts and words that may be unfamiliar.
The great thing about the pregnancy resources at Womenshealth.gov is that you can quickly find the topics most relevant to what you need, and then each subsection is delivered in bite-size action-oriented lists. For example, in "Preconception Health," you learn the five most important ways to boost your health when you're trying to conceive. In "Staying Healthy and Safe" during pregnancy, you can find tips for safe physical activity as well as guidelines on calorie needs, food safety, and caffeine, to name a few.
For infant feeding, there's a separate, in-depth section with several subtopics, dedicated to breastfeeding. Also included is the number and information about the National Breastfeeding Helpline (800-994-9662).
I encourage you to hop over to Womenshealth.gov and take a look at the many resources they have to offer. I found that the information provided is up-to-date and recommends best practices according to evidence and research. With all of the information on pregnancy and birth on the internet, it's hard to weed out the good from the bad, the truths from the half truths (or flat out false) -- you'll appreciate that Womenshealth.gov is reliable, solid resource to help you in your pregnancy and parenthood journey!