Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant
Have baby fever? Before trying to conceive, you’ll want to properly prepare to increase your odds of a complication-free pregnancy and delivery. Give yourself at least three to four months in advance to nourish your body and create an environment in which your baby will thrive. Life can be unpredictable but getting pregnant doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re planning for your first baby or are a seasoned mama bear, there are several things you should do before you get pregnant.
Adjust Your Eating Habits
One of the first things you’ll want to look at before getting pregnant is your eating habits. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet now prepares your body for pregnancy later. Your pre-conception diet should include foods from all five food groups: fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains. Reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and fat in your diet and increase the amount of plant foods you eat. In addition, it’s important to drink plenty of water to aid in proper nutrient absorption and digestion.
If you smoke and plan to get pregnant in the near future, quit now. Smoking is one of the leading causes of health problems in both mother and baby. Studies show that 12 to 20 percent of pregnant women smoke. Smoking while pregnant exposes your baby to toxins like lead, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and arsenic. It also increases your risk of low birth weight, infant death, and pre-term labor.
Begin Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Don’t wait until your first prenatal visit to ask for a prescription. Taking prenatal vitamins starting a few months before conceiving can help protect your future pregnancy. Folic acid has been found to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, the second most common type of debilitating birth defect. As the egg starts to mature about three months before it’s released, prenatal vitamins can protect your pregnancy during its earliest stages.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but excessive stress can have lingering effects on you and your baby. According to WebMD, constant stress can negatively affect the body’s natural stress management system, causing it to trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation during pregnancy has been linked to poor pregnancy health and possible development delays in babies. By staying healthy and having a good support network, you can help reduce stress to a more manageable level or even eliminate it.
Get Out and Get Active
There are several key reasons to get out and get active before trying to get pregnant. By keeping fit before conception, your body is more equipped to deal with the big changes that are ahead. You’ll also have more strength and energy during delivery. Whether it’s a hike in the woods, horseback riding in the country, or a long walk on the beach, you should also use this active time to get closer to your partner.
To give your baby the very best start in life, you’ll want to ensure that your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are in check long before trying to conceive. Not only will this boost your chances of getting pregnant, but will also set you up for a healthy pregnancy.