Understanding how to prepare before you get pregnant is just as important as understanding how to prepare for pregnancy itself. If you want to become pregnant, there are many different things you can put in place that can help you achieve your goals. Of course, there will be some parts of pregnancy that are impossible to prepare for, and your emotions will be one of these things. If you can be as prepared as possible for everything else, you can be calmer, happier, less stress, and more ready to welcome your baby into the world.
My Guide on How to Prepare Before You Get Pregnant:
Write A List
Lists are extremely important in all areas of life. No matter whether you are heading to the grocery store or you’re creating the ultimate pregnancy checklist, the reason behind the list is always going to be the same, and it is always a crucial part of being prepared.
A list will enable you to gather your thoughts and write everything down that needs to be done. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. It will give you time to reflect on what you have achieved and what still requires dealing with. This list is something that can be changed, added to, minimized, and altered throughout your pregnancy, so don’t try to stick to it religiously; doing this will only cause more stress.
In the end, this pregnancy checklist is a reminder to yourself of what you would like to get done before your baby arrives, and if you can start if before you are even pregnant, you will be much more relaxed about the entire thing.
Know Your Doctor
As soon as you decide that it’s time to start trying for a baby, it’s a great idea to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. This first appointment will revolve around a lot of questions from your doctor to you, and you’ll need to give out information about your health, lifestyle, environmental factors, and your history too. Don’t be afraid to do this; these questions are what your doctor will use to form the basis of your care when you are pregnant, and therefore the basis on your baby’s care too.
It is essential to go armed with a list of questions when you first speak to your OBGYN about becoming pregnant. It can be a confusing time, and there are lots of different opinions online and even in books and magazines that can offer little to no help whatsoever. If you have questions, the best person to ask is the doctor who is going to be taking care of you and your baby before, during, and after your pregnancy.
These appointments are no time to be shy, and even if the questions seem rather personal or uncomfortable, knowing the answers is going to help dramatically in the end.
Start Taking Folic Acid
Folic acid is a supplement that those who are trying to conceive as well as those who are already pregnant should take. It’s best to start taking this around a month to six weeks before you intend to start trying to become pregnant, and you should continue taking this supplement throughout the entire first trimester, after which it is no longer quite so effective or necessary. The reason behind taking folic acid is all linked to your baby’s health. Studies suggest that congenital disabilities such as spina bifida can be reduced by 50 percent when folic acid is taken, and this is not the only condition that can be reduced.
Expectant mothers (and women trying to conceive) should take 400mg or so of folic acid each day, but this is something to check with your doctor before you begin. The good news is that folic acid is not hard to buy, since it is available in grocery stores, pharmacies, health food stores, and even online.
Give Up Bad Habits
Everyone has at least some bad habits in their lives. No matter what it is, and even if you think it could never affect your child, you should at least step back and take an objective view of what you are doing. Remember also that some of these habits can even affect your chances of conceiving a child, so stopping them before you become pregnant is the very best thing you can do.
Some of the things that could be construed as a bad habit include smoking, drinking alcohol (particularly to an extreme level), or taking drugs (either prescription or non-prescription). If you want a healthy pregnancy, and if you want to be able to conceive as easily as possible, quitting these bad habits is the first thing to consider. Of course, if you are taking prescription medication, you shouldn’t stop taking your pills before speaking to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe an alternative or talk you through all the options open to you. You should also speak to a doctor if you drink too much alcohol or are using any other form of drugs. If you simply stop and rely on your willpower, you might not be able to keep the habit at bay for long. Not only that but going ‘cold turkey’ can be dangerous, particularly if you happen to be pregnant too. Always get help if you need it.
Some habits are going to be harder to give up than others, and one way to help yourself is to think of the future. Imagine your child, old enough to understand the world a little better, watching you. Are you proud of what you’re doing, or would you rather your child not see your habits? This might give you the push you need to try.
Although when you are thinking about becoming pregnant, or actively trying to conceive, you might not think that what you eat really matters, the truth is it will. We know that when you are pregnant, having a healthy diet is going to help the baby develop, and it will help you cope with the physical strains of pregnancy better too. Yet even before this, ensuring you are eating well is important.
The sooner you can cut down on processed foods, takeout meals, sugary soda drinks, and anything else that you shouldn’t eat when you are pregnant, the easier it will be when you have to do it because you are pregnant. The lifestyle change could be too much to deal with if you try to do it all of a sudden because you now have to, so starting in advance and cutting down bit by bit can be a helpful way to do it.
Being in good shape when you are trying to conceive will help to keep you and your child in better health throughout the pregnancy. Being overweight can put extra strain on the heart and the body so losing some weight before becoming pregnant, through a combination of healthy eating and exercise will help immensely.
Create An Exercise Program
Being healthy when you are trying to conceive will undoubtedly keep you and your baby healthier throughout the 40 weeks. An exercise program is a great way to do this, you can tailor it to your needs and your mobility. Changing it as you need. When you are heavily pregnant, some find it easy to continue and others don’t. Go at your own pace.
There is a myth that suggests you should not exercise when you are pregnant, but this is not accurate. Although you shouldn’t do any high impact or potentially dangerous activities, gentle exercise (such as swimming or walking) is ideal. The sooner you start a good exercise routine, even before you are pregnant, the easier it will be to keep going during pregnancy.
Cut Down On Caffeine
Studies still don’t have quite the consensus on what the limits should be when it comes to caffeine and pregnancy. However, if you want to be as safe as possible, the best option is to give it up entirely or at least cut down to one or two cups of coffee or tea each day. Start by having one cup less per day, and you’ll soon get into the habit of drinking much less.
Something else that can help is switching your morning caffeinated beverage for some else. This could be water or fruit juice, or perhaps a herbal tea.
Although you think you need a cup of coffee in the mornings to wake you up, if you stop drinking it, exercise and eat healthy you’ll feel more awake. You will also be that much healthier too. Of course, caffeine withdrawal can be a big issue, and the symptoms of this include terrible headaches. This is why it should be a slow process and not something done overnight.
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