How to Prepare for Pregnancy

A newborn brings joy to the family, but a new addition also means new responsibility and a major life change. Preparing for your new baby before you even become pregnant increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy. The conception itself is only one aspect of the pregnancy planning. Making healthy choices leading up to conception is key.


Dietary Considerations

An improved diet gets your body in a healthier state before pregnancy. A better diet can also help you lose weight if you are currently overweight. Obesity increases the risk of gestational diabetes and C-section deliveries, according to Pregnancy Today. Increased birth weight is also a possibility.

Folic acid is another dietary concern for women ready to conceive. Folic acid early in the pregnancy decreases the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Begin a prenatal vitamin or other form of folic acid supplement before you conceive since you won’t know immediately when you conceive. Starting the folic acid early keeps your bases covered, no matter when you get pregnant.

Health Evaluations

A health evaluation before you become pregnant allows you to address any potential concerns. A physical exam is a recommended yearly endeavor, even if you aren’t trying to conceive. If you have a history of pregnancy difficulties or there is a family history related to genetic problems, a consultation with your doctor is a consideration.

A dental appointment should also be part of the preconception routine. Poor dental health can negatively affect a growing baby, so you’ll want to take care of any tooth problems before conceiving.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle factors affect your overall health and could affect a pregnancy. Clean up your habits before you conceive to lessen the effects on your baby. Quit smoking before you conceive to avoid side effects on your child. Alcohol consumption is another habit to curb once you begin trying to conceive. If you aren’t currently active, an exercise routine gets your body in better shape, making it easier to handle pregnancy. Exercise might also help reduce the aches you feel during pregnancy. Establishing the routine before becoming pregnant means you’re more likely to maintain it.

Emotional Readiness

A healthy emotional state regarding pregnancy goes right along with the physical health aspect. Many people focus on the joy of having a baby, but there are many trying times during pregnancy and the newborn phase. Sleepless nights, hormone surges, changes in your body and potential friction in your relationship are things to consider and discuss before becoming pregnant. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about having children before you attempt to have a baby. A stable, emotionally secure relationship is also key.

Planning

An understanding of your cycle improves your chances of conception. If you are currently taking birth control pills, decide when you want to stop. Your body might need some time to filter out the hormones from the pills. A chart of your menstrual cycles helps you identify times when you are most fertile. The chart also helps estimate the time of conception.

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