Pregnancy is a time of major change. Getting your body ready for pregnancy before you conceive is one of the best things you can do to reduce the risks of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery. But how do you get started?
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana — which serves the Evansville area — Paul W. Morrison, M.D., and his team specialize in helping women get ready for pregnancy and birth. They offer patient-centered, custom care aimed at optimizing the body for the stresses and strains of pregnancy. Here’s how Dr. Morrison can help you.
Getting ready for pregnancy
Most women know they need prenatal care, such as physical exams, lab tests, and other evaluations, throughout the course of pregnancy. But what many women don’t know is that they should actually start preparing their bodies well in advance of pregnancy — often months in advance — to give themselves and their babies a “jump start” to optimal health.
Get a physical
Having a physical should be at the top of your preconception planning list. A physical exam, including lab tests and other evaluations, can make sure you’re healthy enough for the rigors of pregnancy. It can also uncover issues that should be treated now, prior to conceiving.
See an obstetrician
Obstetricians, such as Dr. Morrison, are the experts when it comes to healthy pregnancies. In addition to your regular physical, seeing an obstetrician before you conceive can help you get your body ready.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends pre-pregnancy counseling for anyone who’s planning to get pregnant within the next year. During your preconception visit, Dr. Morrison talks with you about steps you can take to reduce modifiable risk factors, along with things you can do to improve your physical and emotional wellness.
Ask about supplements
The CDC recommends that all women take a folic acid supplement during their child-bearing years to help prevent serious birth defects regarding the central nervous system. Depending on your health needs, your doctor may recommend other supplements as well. Don’t take supplements without talking with your doctor first.
Drop the extra weight
Gaining weight during pregnancy is expected, but to prevent serious health problems, it’s important to shed extra pounds before you conceive. Studies show direct links between obesity and pregnancy risks, such as low birth weight, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes, which are conditions that can put you and your developing baby at risk.
Take up yoga
You don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Regular, gentle stretching can increase flexibility, which can really come in handy when you’re carrying extra “baby weight” and during delivery, too. Plus, yoga can help reduce stress, another bonus for your health and wellness.
Quit bad habits
Habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illicit drugs, can have a dramatic impact on your health during pregnancy, but so can caffeine and regular exposure to pollutants or chemicals. Ideally, you should drop your bad habits months before you get pregnant to give your body a chance to recover and cleanse itself.
Improve your eating habits
During pregnancy, you’re eating for two, and what you eat has a direct bearing on your developing baby’s health. Cut out unhealthy fats and sugars, and incorporate more fiber, whole grains, lean protein, and fresh fruits and veggies. Furthermore, healthy eating can help you achieve and maintain an optimal weight before and during pregnancy.
Learn more about preconception care
Getting your body ready for pregnancy might not be as exciting as furnishing a nursery or stocking your dresser with baby clothes, but it does play an essential role in decreasing potential risks during pregnancy and delivery — both for you and your new member of the family.
For more tips on getting your body ready for pregnancy, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.