Preparing your body for pregnancy is an essential step towards having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. There are several things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy, including making lifestyle changes, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and seeking preconception care. In this article on PregnancyBoss, we will provide you with tips to prepare your body for pregnancy.
What are tips to prepare your body for Pregnancy?
Preconception care is the care you receive before getting pregnant. It focuses on things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. Here are some important steps to help you get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible:
- Make a Plan and Take Action: Before getting pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about preconception health care. Your provider will want to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that could affect a pregnancy. They may want to discuss any previous pregnancy problems, medicines you currently are taking, vaccinations you might need, and steps you can take before pregnancy to help prevent complications.
- Get 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day: Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Having enough folic acid in your body at least one month before and during pregnancy can help prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine.
- Stop Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs: Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can harm your baby’s development and increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and other complications.
- Adhere Strictly to Your Healthcare Provider’s Guidance on Prescription Medication Usage: Prevent any misuse of prescribed drugs. These medications are recommended by your provider to address specific health concerns. A valid prescription from your provider is required to obtain these drugs. It’s essential to stick to the prescribed dosage, avoid combining them with alcohol or other substances, and abstain from using others’ prescribed medications. Inform any prescribing provider about your pregnancy intentions.
- Safeguard Against Viruses: Proctect yourself against potential pregnancy-affecting infections, such as toxoplasmosis and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV). Toxoplasmosis is a result of consuming undercooked meat or handling cat excrement. LCMV can be contracted from caring for rodents like hamsters, mice, or guinea pigs. If you possess such pets or a cat, delegate their care and litter box cleaning to someone else. Also, ensure thorough cooking of any meat you consume.
- Exercise Caution in Utilizing Harmful Chemicals: Consult your provider regarding chemicals you employ at home or your workplace and their impact on fertility or your future child’s well-being. Some chemicals can lead to birth defects. If your job entails chemical exposure, discuss potential duty modifications with your supervisor both before and during pregnancy.
- Address Stress Levels Proactively: Excessive stress during pregnancy can lead to complications. Explore stress management techniques before conceiving. Engage in physical activity, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure sufficient sleep to cope with stress. If stress becomes overwhelming, seek guidance from your provider to connect with a counselor. If you’ve experienced partner abuse, be aware that such situations often escalate during pregnancy.
- Manage Chronic Conditions: If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or epilepsy, it’s important to manage it before getting pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage your condition during pregnancy.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet before and during pregnancy is essential for the healthy development of your baby. Here are some tips for a healthy pre-pregnancy diet:
- Base Meals on Starchy Foods: Base your meals on starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Choose wholegrain options where possible.
- Eat Foods with Lots of Fiber: Eat foods with lots of fiber, such as fruit, vegetables, oats, beans, peas, and lentils.
- Eat at Least 5 Portions of Different Fruits and Vegetables Each Day: Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help ensure that you get all the nutrients you need.
- Choose Lean Proteins: Choose lean proteins like fish, poultry, beans, and lentils.
- Limit Your Intake of Saturated Fats and Sugars: Limit your intake of saturated fats and sugars, which can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- Take Prenatal Vitamins: Taking prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy can help ensure that you get all the nutrients you need.
Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and improve your overall health. Here are some exercises that are safe to do before and during pregnancy:
- Walking and Running: Walking and running are great exercises that can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress.
- Strength Training: Strength training can help you build muscle and improve your overall fitness.
- Yoga and Pilates: Yoga and Pilates can help you improve your flexibility and reduce stress.
- Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help you build muscle tone and improve your cardiovascular health.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, can help you prepare for childbirth and reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Here’s how to do Kegels:
- Sit or lie down with your legs slightly apart.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine.
- Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times, three times a day.
It is important to prepare your body for pregnancy to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. By following the tips mentioned above, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine. Remember to take a preconception checkup with your healthcare provider, take folic acid, maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs, manage stress, get enough sleep and rest, and consider taking a prenatal vitamin. By taking these steps, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should I start preparing my body for pregnancy?
It’s never too early to start preparing your body for pregnancy. Ideally, you should start preparing at least three months before trying to conceive.
How much folic acid should I take before and during pregnancy?
You should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during pregnancy.
What foods should I avoid before and during pregnancy?
You should avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish with high levels of mercury, and unpasteurized dairy products.
How much exercise should I do before and during pregnancy?
You should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week before and during pregnancy.
Can I continue to exercise during pregnancy?
Yes, you can continue to exercise during pregnancy. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider about what exercises are safe for you to do.
How can I reduce my risk of gestational diabetes?
You can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise.
What are the benefits of pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises can help you prepare for childbirth and reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.
When should I see a healthcare provider before getting pregnant?
You should see a healthcare provider before getting pregnant if you have a chronic condition, are taking medication, or have had previous pregnancy problems.
How can I manage stress before and during pregnancy?
You can manage stress before and during pregnancy by getting regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, and getting enough sleep.
What should I do if I’m having trouble getting pregnant?
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you identify any underlying issues and recommend treatments to help you conceive.