10 Steps for Getting Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
The decision to have a baby is a big one, and you want to make sure you’re ready. Get your body ready for conception and the 9-month challenge with these 10 essential steps.
1. Schedule a Visit
You want to ensure you’re in tip-top gynecological health before getting pregnant. Schedule a preconception appointment with Lizellen La Follette MD.
We screen you for urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and hormonal balance. If you have a known issue, such as endometriosis or fibroids, this visit is especially important to discuss potential strategies if you should run into a problem getting pregnant.
And, if you’re currently on a long-term birth control method, such as the pill or an IUD, this visit gives you the time to discuss the process of going off it and your fertility timeline.
2. Take Folic Acid
Start taking a prenatal vitamin before conception to ensure you have all the nutrients available to support an unborn baby. Folic acid is particularly important as it prevents the development of specific congenital disabilities.
3. Aim for a Healthy Weight
Being over or underweight can affect your ability to conceive.
If you’re overweight during your pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience complications while carrying your baby or during delivery.
Often, women who are underweight give birth to underweight babies. Talk to our staff about what’s a healthy weight for you and how to achieve it.
4. Tweak Your Diet
Get in the habit now of making healthy, whole-food choices. Fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and good-for-you, unsaturated fats support optimal health and energy. Plus, they’ll help provide your growing baby the nutrients necessary for proper development in the womb.
5. Get Active
Don’t wait until you get pregnant to start a fitness plan. Start prior to conception so that your body is fit and ready for pregnancy.
Then, as long as the doctors say it’s okay, you can keep up workouts during pregnancy to ward off excess weight gain and keep aches and pains to a minimum.
Ease into fitness if it’s new to you and work up to 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio most days of the week. Yoga is another good choice as it improves flexibility and helps ease mental stress.
6. Give Up Your Vices
Heavy partying habits, including binge drinking and smoking, don’t contribute to a healthy body ready for pregnancy. An occasional glass of wine or cocktail is fine, but drink responsibly and, if you think you might be pregnant, take a pass altogether.
To have a healthy pregnancy, it’s crucial that you quit smoking. If you need help kicking the habit, talk to the staff for support and strategies.
7. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine isn’t off limits when you’re trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy. However, keeping your consumption in moderation is a good idea. It’s recommended you keep caffeine intake to the amount found in about 12 ounces of coffee. So if you drink a lot more than that now, start to wean yourself down.
8. Check on Your Oral Health
Head to the dentist if you haven’t been in six months or longer. Also, refine your at-home brushing and flossing habits.
When you become pregnant, hormones surging through your body can affect the health of your gums and teeth. Staying on top of your oral health before pregnancy reduces the likelihood that you’ll have gum or tooth issues during pregnancy.
9. Sleep In
You’re most likely aware that sleep is a luxury when baby arrives so it’s nice to hoard it before conception. But, sleep also promotes a healthy body.
When you sleep the requisite seven to nine hours per night, you put your body in good shape for conception. Your hormones balance and your energy are on point.
10. Protect Your Immune System
You don’t want illness to strike during pregnancy. Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, such as colorful produce, to bolster immunity. Plus, avoid infection by staying diligent about washing your hands and avoiding contact with people who have colds or the flu, when possible.