Ready to take the next step in expanding your family? One of the crucial steps toward ensuring a healthy pregnancy is to prepare before you conceive. Read seven tips on Pregnancy Ready Step Expanding Family.
Read more: When Should You Get a Pregnancy Test?
1. Schedule an Appointment with Your DoctorBefore you start trying to conceive, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor to check for any health issues that you may need to address before becoming pregnant. Your doctor will be able to screen for any risk factors that you can change, and give you advice on your nutrition, exercise regimen, and general health. If you have been on the Pill, your doctor may recommend waiting until you’ve had one regular menstrual cycle before trying to conceive. You may also need to update your immunizations and wait the proper period before conceiving.
2. Start Taking Prenatal VitaminsYou should start taking prenatal vitamins 2-3 months before you are planning to get pregnant. Ask your doctor which vitamins s/he recommends for you. Your prenatal vitamin should contain folic acid, an important nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects (like spina bifida) in your unborn child. Many neural tube defects occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy, before you may know that you are pregnant, which makes it doubly important to start taking them before conception. Prenatal vitamins will also boost other nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, which you will need more of during pregnancy.
3. Weight and ExerciseIn consultation with your doctor, you’ll want to start working towards your ideal weight. This may mean gaining weight if you’re underweight or losing a few pounds. You can continue or start doing some moderate exercise (such as walking) or sign up for a prenatal exercise class, which will help your body to get in shape for the physical stress of pregnancy.
4. Reduce or Cut Out Caffeine, Alcohol, and MedicationsSince you won’t know you’re pregnant until several weeks after you conceive, it’s a good idea to treat your body as if you are already pregnant, if you are actively trying to conceive. This means cutting down to less than two cups of coffee a day and cutting alcohol out of your diet entirely. Avoid using drugs such as painkillers or cold medicines if you suspect you might be pregnant unless you’ve consulted with your doctor first.
5. Stop SmokingIf you haven’t already, stop smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of miscarriage.
6. See Your DentistMany women don’t think that seeing their dentist before they get pregnant is important. You don’t want to be getting X-rays while you’re pregnant, so be sure to get any dental work done beforehand. Also, the health of your teeth and gums can play a role in your overall health during pregnancy, so be sure to get them checked out. Gum disease has been linked to premature births.
7. Eat WellTry your best to get on a nutritious diet. Whole grains and healthy proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and fish (but only two servings a week, and choose small fish that are low in mercury) will promote for you and your future child. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs, undercooked meats, cold seafood, and unpasteurized milk products, as well as other foods your doctor may put on the do-not-eat list.
So you’ve gotten your body on the right track? Great! Now it’s time to get in touch with your body’s cycle, learn when you’re ovulating, and start getting busy in the bedroom!