When you are considering getting pregnant, your first step should be to assess your own health. Are you healthy enough to have a baby? This can save you and your baby a lot of trouble down the line. Certain conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure can have a negative effect on an unborn baby and should thus be under control before you start trying to get pregnant. Also, any bad habits you may have such as smoking, drinking or taking recreational drugs should be out of the picture.
Below are some key areas to look at when you are getting ready to get pregnant:
If you have any type of medical condition, no matter how trivial you think it may be, talk to your doctor before trying to conceive, as you never know what affect it may have on your pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend a few routine blood tests and will check your blood pressure to make sure everything is in good order.
A pap test is a good idea as well, to ensure that everything is ship-shape before you begin. Also discuss any medications or supplements you may be taking to see if they will interfere with your developing fetus. Most of the time they can switch you to an alternate drug that is safer for the baby.
Your doctor should also cover your family and personal medical history. If there is any genetic disorder in the family he may suggest additional testing. While it is likely a good idea, it is entirely up to you.
Vitamins & Supplements
Strengthen your body, inside and out with a good prenatal supplement. Too many women ignore the fact that sometimes their bodies require more nutrients than they can supply through their diet. Folic acid is essential to a baby’s development, and iron will help keep up your energy levels through the pregnancy, so make sure these are an essential part of your daily vitamin.
A large portion of our body is made up of water, and no matter how many times we hear it, most of us don’t drink enough. Making water a part of your daily drinking habit now will make everything easy later, as you body will need lots of it to create the environment around your baby and to create blood.
Bad Habits & Addictions
Unfortunately, some of your vices may have to go out the window as they may not just affect your chances of getting pregnant, but could also harm your baby. Here’s a rundown:
- Alcohol – needs to be cut out entirely, although some doctors may allow a glass of red wine once in a while after the first trimester.
- Smoke – first or secondhand, it has to go.
- Drugs – even marijuana has been linked to issues with developing babies and other drugs such as cocaine or heroin can have devastating effects. Seek treatment if you need it.
- Caffeine – you can hand on to a cup or two of coffee or tea per day, but you should cut back as much as possible. Watch your chocolate intake as well.
Committing to regular exercise now, before you become pregnant will make it easier to continue through your pregnancy. Exercise will help you relieve stress, burn calories, and tone those very important baby carrying and delivering muscles. Start out small and work your way up, but don’t push yourself too hard as this can actually work against you by making it more difficult to conceive.
Studies show that women who exercise regularly through their pregnancy have an easier pregnancy and labor, with less need for medical intervention. Their babies are healthier too. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great ways to keep fit from now until the birth, and don’t cost much to get into. Aim for at least 4 per week at 30 minutes each.
Ideally you want to be as healthy as possible prior to pregnancy, so that may mean that you need to cut back a few calories first. Get rid of the bad fats and sugars, and replace them with healthier options such as fruits and vegetables. Trade the white bread for multigrain, and try to eliminate some of those processed foods you eat. Your body will thank you, and so will your baby. Your doctor can help you decide if you need to gain or lose weight before conceiving, and can likely give you some directions on where to find guidance if you need it.
Remember that even though it is your body, you are planning on having a baby and that means some sacrifices need to be made. Think of your body as a home for your future baby, and try to clean it up before they move in. With a few small changes you will soon be in optimal condition to carry your child and help them be as healthy as possible.