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If you’ve decided to get pregnant, chances are that you would want your body to be well prepared to nurture a new human being. Preconception planning is common among many women who want to increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Also, the healthy lifestyle changes that you make during pregnancy may last even after pregnancy and become a part of your life.
12 Tips for Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy
Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind in the process of getting your body ready for pregnancy.
1. See Your Doctor
The first thing you will need to do is get an appointment with a doctor for both you and your partner. The doctor can analyse your family’s’ medical history and rule out the possibility of complications. In case there are complications, you will be provided with remedies. The doctor will also check if you are immunized against major diseases. You will need to be vaccinated against chickenpox and rubella, and you will have to take these shots three months before you try to conceive.
Your doctor can also screen you for sexually transmitted diseases and suggest that you follow the necessary precautions and treatments to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
On the other hand, if you have any underlying medical conditions that require you to take regular medication, like epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma, you will need to visit a doctor to make any necessary changes to your course of treatment before trying to conceive.
2. Stop Birth Control
You will need to discontinue the use of any form of birth control that you have been using. If you have an IUD, you can have it removed by a gynaecologist. While some women tend to get pregnant within the next two weeks after stopping birth control, others may take longer.
3. Fix Your Diet
Cut out the unhealthy food items from your diet, prepare your body for a pregnancy with healthier and organic food choices, and drink plenty of water. Switching those carbs and junk with healthy snacks like nuts and fruits can do you good and lower your exposure to toxins. Also, avoid eating raw eggs or undercooked meat to rule out the risk of salmonella. It is especially important to get to a healthy diet if you have a BMI over 30 and are obese. Being underweight can also be a problem as it can affect your menstrual cycle and can cause you to have missed periods. This essentially means that you will not be ovulating every cycle. It is best to get to a healthy BMI range of 19 to 25 in case you are trying for a healthy pregnancy.
4. Include Exercise
You will need to incorporate moderate work out sessions of about 30 minutes for at least four to five days every week. If you are starting from scratch, a 20-minute walk should help you get moving before you try more vigorous workouts. If you exercise regularly, you can try and squeeze in about 45 minutes of exercise five or six days a week.
5. Stack up on Multivitamins
Most doctors advise women to take multivitamins to make up for the lack of certain vitamins in their body. These prenatal vitamins can help bridge any nutritional deficiency that you may have right before getting pregnant. You will need to boost your intake of iron and calcium-rich foods items as well.
6. Folic Acid
You may need to add folic acid on top of your vitamin supplements. Folic acid helps prevent the possibility of neural tube defects during pregnancy. Although it is available over the counter, you can check with your doctor about these supplements. 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid is recommended on a daily basis during preconception. Once you are pregnant, your doctor may change the dosage accordingly.
7. Lay off Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs
All three activities are undoubtedly detrimental to both you and your baby. Smoking can expose you both to a lot of toxins and reduce your blood flow. It also affects fertility and may cause preterm delivery, miscarriage or even stillbirth. Alcohol can have long-term problems and developmental issues in the baby, and can also put your baby at the risk of foetal alcohol syndrome. Using drugs is illegal and can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, etc. Drugs like heroin and cocaine can even lead to drug-dependent babies. It is wise to ask your partner also to quit smoking in case he does, as smoking is also related to low sperm count. Exposure to smoke is also not ideal, especially during pregnancy. It is also best if you limit your intake of caffeine every day as pregnant women are recommended only 300 ml of caffeine each day.
8. Try Stress Relief Measures
Trying to conceive can be quite stressful. But managing your stress is vital as stress can shoot up your cortisol levels, preventing ovulation and lowering your sex drive. You can try out various stress relief measures like yoga, meditation, music, reading, etc.
9. Get Plenty of Sleep
A good night’s rest every day can put your body on track to work the way it is supposed to. Lack of sleep can cause stress, lower your sex drive and make your more tired.
10. Get a Dental Check-up
Gum disease is linked to preterm labour and low birth weight in babies. Ensure that you schedule a visit to your dentist and have the issue resolved before you get pregnant.
11. Get All the Information
Understand how conception works. Talk to your doctor and get all the information you need before you begin conceiving. It is also important that you read as much as possible to know what you have in store for the following months. Also, track your cycle. Knowing when you are ovulating can increase your chances of pregnancy significantly. You can use ovulation kits for this purpose.
12. Involve Your Partner
Conceiving and preparing to conceive is as much his responsibility as it is yours. You can ask him to start taking folic acid too as it helps with the sperm count. He should also make an effort to stay fit and healthy and give up on smoking, alcohol, or other drugs. It is important for both of your to have a healthy lifestyle to facilitate a healthy pregnancy.
It is also recommended that he visit a doctor and get checked too, as about 30 percent of the infertility cases are the result of male infertility.
As you get ready to welcome a new human being into your home , it is important that you prepare yourself mentally for the task too. You will need to care for and nurture the baby and provide it the best possible atmosphere to grow up in. Making a few fundamental lifestyle changes can contribute very well towards that task.
Also, remember that conceiving may be easy for some and equally difficult for others. Do not lose hope if you don’t conceive immediately. You will need to give it time and have patience, and most importantly, enjoy the process. In case you face serious problems, do check with your doctor about the possible reasons and ways in which you can rectify them.