Pregnancy is a significant event in the lives of many people. It can be an exciting time, but it also brings about some substantial changes to your life. You will need to do several things before becoming pregnant so that the process goes as smoothly as possible and there are no surprises when it comes time for labor and delivery.
In this article we'll list 12 essential things, including everything from taking care of your body to preparing your home for your baby!
12 Essential Things to Do Before Getting Pregnant
1) Schedule a Preconception Visit With Your OBGYN
This is one of the most important things to do before getting pregnant. You will want to make sure that your doctor knows about any health concerns you may have and take some time to discuss family planning with them so they can determine which type of birth control would be best for you. This preconception visit should happen at least six months before you want to get pregnant so that your doctor can administer a blood test and discuss any medical conditions with you.
If anything is going on in your life, such as if you are suffering from an illness or have recently had surgery, having this appointment early will allow you to recover before becoming pregnant. You may also want to make sure you know about any medications and supplements that may impact fertility.
2) Consider a Screening of Genetic Carrier Diseases
It is vital to have a blood test taken before becoming pregnant to screen for genetic carrier diseases. Suppose you suspect that your partner has a family history of certain genetic conditions. In that case, it might be wise to get tested before getting pregnant and risk the development of severe conditions in any future children. This visit should happen at least six months before you want to get pregnant so that your doctor can administer a blood test and discuss any medical history conditions with you. You may also want to make sure you know about any medications and supplements that may impact fertility.
3) Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you're considering getting pregnant, it is important to start taking prenatal vitamins. They are especially crucial in the first three months of pregnancy while your baby's neural tube and other essential organs are developing. Prenatal Vitamins can help make sure a woman gets all the nutrients she needs while pregnant such as folic acid that reduces her risk of developing complications or congenital disabilities associated with deficiencies in various nutrients. Not taking enough prenatal vitamins puts the baby at risk of developing complications. Some research also suggests that taking these vitamins could even mitigate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. You can schedule prenatal visits to your doctor to know which vitamins to take.
4) Give up Habits Like Smoking and Drinking
If you're considering getting pregnant, it's important to give up habits like smoking, including secondhand smoke and drinking. People often forget about the importance of giving up smoking and drinking before getting pregnant and embrace more healthy habits. Smoking is linked to higher miscarriage rates, premature birth, low-birth-weight babies, or stillborn infants if you smoke while pregnant. Drinking alcohol can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can cause a range of physical and mental birth defects in your baby, such as low IQ, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.
It's important not to forget about these risks when trying for a baby. It might seem daunting, but it really is worth giving up smoking and drinking before getting pregnant to protect you from damaging your unborn child or even losing them altogether.
5) Eat Healthy and Balanced Diet Food
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential to living well before, during, and after pregnancy. The body needs more energy when pregnant, so try to include all food groups in your diet: carbohydrates like bread or pasta, protein such as meat products or tofu, vegetables, low-calorie but high-nutrition items that provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
A balanced diet will provide you with essential nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy to help ensure your little one grows safe and strong in the womb hence leading to a healthy baby.
To maintain an adequate energy intake, it's essential not to forget about eating small but frequent meals throughout the day or using snacks and bigger meals.
Limit caffeine intake during pregnancy and avoid drinking more than one coffee, tea, or cola per day.
It's essential to get plenty of sleep for the body to keep up with everyday activities and manage stress hormones that can be increased during this time in life. Try not to go for more than an hour without a break.
6) Exercise More and Aim for a Healthy Weight
Exercising and eating a healthy diet are important for both you and your baby. It will help prepare you for the physical challenges of pregnancy, improve your mood, reduce stress, and optimize fetal growth. It is important for many reasons during pregnancy and maintain a healthy body weight and get in shape.
Walking every day at an increased pace can help prepare the body for labor and make time more enjoyable while pregnant. Walking around 60 minutes per day can benefit from preparing your pelvis and reducing the risk of gestational diabetes.
A healthy weight is important for both mom and baby. If you are overweight or obese, initiating a weight-loss program before getting pregnant can help prevent pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure in the mother. A dietitian should be consulted to guide what foods are best during this time. The following tips will help ensure a healthy weight:
Regularly include foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your daily meal plan (Meal planning should also be done to avoid overeating or over-consumption.)
Drink lots of water each day for proper hydration. Drinking enough fluids is really important during pregnancy due to the increased need. Drink water throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty.
Walking is good exercise during pregnancy and helps keep your weight in check (Regular aerobic activity can help maintain a healthy weight.) And don't forget that prenatal yoga classes are excellent ways to work out and meet other women who understand what you're going through.
(Work on establishing a better sleep routine before becoming pregnant. This includes getting at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.)
To improve your mood, try to get outdoors as often as possible and take a break for some fresh air (Take time out every day to enjoy the things you love, such as reading or listening to music.)
7) Boost Your Mental Health
As you improve your health in general, don't forget to take care of your mental health. This includes exercising (Regular aerobic exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety) and practicing mindfulness techniques to handle the increased feelings of pressure that come with pregnancy. Establishing a better sleep routine is also essential for managing moods during this time.
One easy way to incorporate mindfulness in your daily routine is by taking some time each day for a few minutes of deep breathing. This can be done at any point during the day, but morning or evening are good times to practice before bedtime. Try these five simple steps:
Start with your left foot and use it as an anchor to slowly sweep your right foot around in a circle. Keep going until you are standing on both feet, and then repeat with the other foot.
Gently close your eyes as if falling asleep (but stay awake).
Breathe deeply for at least three minutes, feeling the sensation of air coming into your nose or mouth, down your throat, and into your lungs.
At the end of three minutes, open your eyes and take a deep breath.
Repeat for as many times as you'd like to feel more relaxed during this time of transition in life.
8) Visit the Dentist in Preparation of Pregnancy
The dentist can help with a few oral health problems in the mouth that are more common during pregnancy, such as gingivitis and dry mouth, and gum disease. They will also be able to evaluate your teeth for signs of cavities or other dental issues and improve your health conditions. Finally, they'll make sure you have a healthy smile when you bring another life into the world.
9) Consider a Prenatal Class and/or Yoga Class
Pregnant women can enroll in prenatal care classes to learn about what's happening with their bodies, how to prepare for labor and delivery, the importance of eating healthy during pregnancy, and more. Most health care providers offer these classes for free or at very affordable prices.
You can also take a prenatal yoga class to find out what you need to know about how your body will change during the various stages of pregnancy and learn safe exercises for pregnant women. The instructor may have more information on prenatal workouts, exercise guides, healthy snacks, staying hydrated, and much more.
10) Reduce Environmental Risks in Preparation of Pregnancy
Many things can happen in the environment that may have an impact on your pregnancy and fetus. You should reduce or eliminate exposures to toxic chemicals, pesticides, lead paint, solvents, pet dander/hairspray before trying to conceive, just as a precaution. If you know someone dealing with these issues, make sure their home has been decontaminated by a professional to reduce the risk of harming you and your unborn baby.
11) Consider Your Job/Employment Status
It would be best to consider your employment status before getting pregnant to best plan for the changes pregnancy will bring. If you are in a job that includes strenuous physical activity, work with chemicals, or heavy lifting, you may want to consider saving your pregnancy for a time when it will not be as severe on your body.
12) Figure out When you Ovulate
The best time for a woman to get pregnant is when she ovulates. It's important to know your menstrual cycle and then figure out the day of ovulation based on that information to track it each month. This will help you see where your body is at with fertility so you can plan accordingly.
The pills that help you get pregnant
Some women will start taking fertility pills to help them get pregnant, as these can increase the chance of conception by more than 50%. The downside is that you're now at risk for side effects like nausea and headaches. Some of the best pregnancy pills include Clomid, Ovulation Stimulating Pills, and Follistim. Make sure you ask for the right pills for preterm birth since there are also birth control pills.
Signs of Pregnancy in the First Trimester
The first trimester is the time when you're most prone to morning sickness, as well as fatigue, constipation, and heartburn. The baby's brain development will also be going at a rapid pace. You may experience some headaches or cramping too. But don't worry! That just means your pregnancy hormones are kicking in, and you can have a bump soon, which will probably make you feel better.
Things to Expect in the Second Trimester
You'll be feeling more energized, and your appetite may increase too! But don't overdo it because those pregnancy cravings can lead to weight gain if not appropriately addressed. You might experience mood swings as well.
Things to Expect in the Third Trimester
If you thought morning sickness and fatigue were bad, wait until your third trimester. You'll be feeling even more exhausted while simultaneously dealing with all of those pregnancy hormones! But don't fret because everything should start to feel a lot better by the time you reach your due date.
There is a lot to do for you and your partner to be ready before embarking on pregnancy. This can feel like an overwhelming task, but it's essential not just for you but also for the baby. So take some time today to make sure that you are prepared by checking off as many of these things from this list as you can.