If you’re planning to get pregnant, you’re probably pretty excited — and maybe a little nervous, too. After all, you’ll be creating a whole new person. To give that new family member the best possible start, now’s the time to prepare your body for the strains and rigors it’s about to face.
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., helps women throughout the Evansville area get ready for pregnancy with guidance, care, and support, from conception through delivery. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, here are seven steps to take now.
Once you’re pregnant, regular prenatal exams will help keep you and your baby healthy. But having a pre-pregnancy exam is also important.
Pre-pregnancy exams include tests and lab work that can identify issues that could cause problems with pregnancy or conception. By having a physical before you get pregnant, you can have treatments to address those issues and improve your health in other key ways.
During your exam, ask your doctor if you’re up to date on vaccinations. Being properly immunized can help prevent illnesses that could cause serious and even life-threatening problems for your baby.
Your body is going to change a lot when you’re pregnant. Improving your exercise routine before you get pregnant can give your body the strength, flexibility, and stamina needed to handle the demands of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Some exercises, such as stretching and yoga, can strengthen pelvic and lower back muscles for a more comfortable delivery. Regular walking is a great way to get started if you don’t exercise already.
You should also continue exercise and stretching throughout pregnancy. For tips on the best way to stay fit once you conceive, visit the website of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that can play a vital role during pregnancy. In fact, the CDC recommends that all women take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day during their reproductive years in order to decrease the risks of birth defects that affect the brain and spine.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant and you’re not already taking a daily folic acid supplement, now is the time to start.
When you’re pregnant, you really are eating for two. Now is the perfect time to ditch unhealthy snack foods and empty calories and opt for nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins.
Learning to eat healthy before conception can give your body the head start it needs to provide a healthy foundation for your new family member. Plus, healthy eating can help with the next tip on this list: losing excess pounds.
Extra weight can make pregnancy especially uncomfortable. Worse, it can lead to pregnancy complications for you and your baby, including:
Having a healthy body weight can make conception easier, too.
Most women know it’s important not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take illicit drugs during pregnancy. But ideally, you should eliminate those bad habits before you conceive to give your body time to recover from the negative side effects.
You should also try to limit your intake of caffeine and avoid environments where you could be exposed to secondhand smoke or other pollutants.
Stress can make it harder to get pregnant. If you’re having trouble conceiving, learning to manage your stress could help.
Many stress management techniques, such as focused breathing and yoga, can help during delivery, too. By learning these techniques now, you can be well prepared when the big day arrives.
To learn about these and other healthy steps to take before getting pregnant, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D. today.