Preparing For Pregnancy Checklist
Planning your first pregnancy or adding another baby to your growing family is an exciting time! Getting your body and mind in optimal condition to conceive can be equally exciting, but also intimidating!
This post will show you how to prep your body for pregnancy and which things really matter when preparing for pregnancy.
Why Is Pregnancy Planning Important?
Preparing your body for pregnancy is a great way to prime your body for the amazing changes that it will undergo during pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are many changes a body goes through not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.
While it’s impossible to control exactly how your pregnancy journey will be as each mother and pregnancy is unique, getting your body and mind ready is a great way to set yourself up for a healthy, happy pregnancy.
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When Should You Start Preconception Care?
When preparing for pregnancy, it’s best to start as soon as you feel ready. But preparing your body for pregnancy doesn’t have to be the same for everyone – it can vary depending on when you decide to get pregnant.
Preparing your body for pregnancy before conceiving is ideal because it allows you time to set up appointments with doctors/midwives, dietitians, and all the other professionals you might need (gynecologist, dentist, etc.), prepare for appointments with different specialists and get those pre-pregnancy checkups taken care of. But preparing your body for pregnancy at any point in your life is still a good idea!
It’s best to start taking folic acid and prenatal vitamins as soon as you start preparing your body for pregnancy. Ideally a few months before trying to conceive.
Women who are preparing their bodies for pregnancy and taking folic acid prior to conception have a greater chance of having a healthy baby. Taking these vitamins helps prevent birth defects and improves the chances of having a normal delivery.
Preparing For Pregnancy Checklist
Planning a pregnancy is an exciting time, your body is amazing and designed to carry a baby and give birth! To help make your journey as easy and as healthy as possible, think about preparing your body for pregnancy.
Below is a preconception plan checklist for prepping your body for the amazing journey ahead.
Before Trying To Conceive Visit Your Doctor
Although you´ll be visiting your doctor plenty while you’re pregnant, It´s good to make an appointment before you conceive. Your doctor will ask about your family medical history, previous pregnancies, and any medical conditions that could affect your pregnancy.
It´s also a great time to check your weight, and BMI to see if you need to lose/gain weight before conceiving.
Tell your doctor if you smoke, drink or do other drugs, as they can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.
Check Your Medications Before Pregnancy Planning
Certain medications taken during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Let your doctor know all the medications you’re taking – prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and even herbal supplements. Your doctor might tell you to stop taking some medications or change the dosage.
Before Getting Pregnant Visit The Dentist
While it may not be the most fun thing to visit your dentist, It´s important to schedule a visit before you get pregnant. Good oral health is linked to your overall health after all!
During your appointment, the dentist will look at your teeth and gums for any problems or infections. The dentist might make a diagnosis right away, or refer you to another healthcare provider for treatment. If they recommend treatment, fixing the problem before conceiving can help prevent health conditions in pregnancy.
It´s also the time to schedule any special treatments, or x-rays needed as you should try to avoid x-rays while pregnant.
Planning For A Baby? Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Too much caffeine consumption can make it harder for you to conceive and increase the risk of miscarriage. While it´s best to avoid caffeine altogether if you must have a coffee or soda try to limit your caffeine intake to under 250 milligrams a day.
If you´re not sure how much caffeine is in your favorite beverage here´s a quick guide:
- Coffee brewed 8oz – 95-165mg
- Black Tea 8oz – 25-48mg
- Cola 8oz – 24-46mg
- Energy drink 8oz – 27-164mg
Stop Drinking and Smoking
Tobacco and alcohol are well-known no-nos during pregnancy as they can seriously affect a baby´s growth and cause a whole host of health problems later in life. But they also make it harder for you to get pregnant.
Smoking can cause early menopause and reduce conception rates by up to 40% and it´s not just women who are affected. Male smokers can experience reduced sperm count, low sperm motility (slow movement), and sperm with damaged DNA.
Alcohol can also reduce fertility, and increase the chances your child will develop diabetes in later life.
Before Getting Pregnant Limit Seafood
Fish with high levels of mercury, such as tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel should be limited to two times a week during pregnancy, as consuming too much mercury can impair a baby’s growing brain and nervous system. It’s also a good idea to limit your intake before pregnancy as it can take up to one year for your body to clear mercury from your blood.
Some fish are good sources of omega-3, which is important for pregnant women, but they also have a high risk of mercury contamination. Fish with low levels of mercury include salmon, shrimp, pollock, cod, and catfish.
Most experts recommend a daily intake of 200 mg (for a woman who’s not pregnant) from all sources, including supplements and diet.
To stay healthy make sure to get your omega-3 from a quality fish oil supplement.
Prepare For Pregnancy With A Healthy Diet
It´s important to eat a healthy balanced diet even when your not planning to conceive, so there is no better time to give your diet an overhaul.
Clear out the junk food, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains and drink plenty of water. Eating a healthy balanced diet prior to conception can help reduce your chances of getting gestational diabetes and excess weight gain.
Check Your Weight
While it’s never fun to jump on the scale, it’s a good time to check if you need to lose or gain a few pounds.
Extra weight can increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and high blood pressure. Women who are obese during pregnancy are also more likely to have a cesarean delivery.
However, being underweight can also increase risks. Women who are underweight during pregnancy are at risk of having a low-birth-weight baby and preterm birth.
Include Exercise In Your Preconception Plan
Not only does exercise keep you healthy and your weight in check, but it will also get you into shape for giving birth. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great ways to get started.
For example, Yoga focuses on breathing, posture, and concentration, all of which will benefit you during labor.
Taking the time to exercise before you conceive will help you not only feel and look your best when preparing for pregnancy but will also be preparing you for the hard work ahead!
If you haven’t exercised for a long time, consult your doctor first.
Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Your body will be going through some incredible changes and preparing your body for pregnancy is important. This means preparing yourself nutritionally as well.
Prenatal vitamins will supply you with the nutrients needed to prepare your body and baby for pregnancy, reduce the chances of premature birth and low birth weight by preparing your body to carry that extra load and help prevent maternal health conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and anemia.
Without vitamin supplements, you could be at risk of not getting enough folic acid (important for preventing neural tube defects), iron (builds red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body), and calcium (which helps build your baby´s strong bones).
Reduce Stress And Focus On Mental Health Pre Pregnancy
It´s good to focus on your mental health before getting pregnant. Depression and anxiety can not only affect your overall health, but also the well-being of your developing fetus.
Take some time each day to clear your mind, meditate and work on your mental health.
Get Plenty Of Rest
Sleep is also important before you conceive. Even with all the excitement about preparing for pregnancy, getting enough rest can be difficult.
Preparing your body for pregnancy should mean preparing your mind as well. This means preparing yourself for a good night´s sleep by preparing a relaxing bedtime routine and preparing to wind down in the evening instead of staying awake late at night.
Giving yourself plenty of time for sleep is vital to let your body repair and prepare for pregnancy. Making sure you are well rested will keep you happy and keep your body healthy.
Preparing For Pregnancy Checklist Conclusion
There are many things to consider before preparing your body for pregnancy. You should clear out the junk food, check if you need to lose or gain a few pounds, and make sure you start taking prenatal vitamins.
Exercise is also important because it will keep you healthy as well as get ready for giving birth! It’s good to focus on mental health and sleep when preparing for pregnancy too so that both your mind and body can be prepared.
All of these tips will help prepare your body in advance, reducing risks such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, high blood pressure, anemia, and more!