The Importance of Preparing Your Body for Pregnancyby Elizabeth MacDonald
Most women who decide they want to begin or grow their family do so without much thought other than, “Let’s lose the birth control.” While this may wind up with a positive pregnancy test in a few weeks, it is better to take some time preparing your body to hold and grow a healthy baby. Dedicating just 2-3 months ahead of trying to conceive (TTC) can increase your chances of getting pregnant, carrying to term, and having fewer ailments than just jumping in without planning.
How to Prepare for Pregnancy
Maintain a balanced (and real food) diet
Lose the processed items and stick to whole, real foods. Increase your protein intake to keep yourself from entering pregnancy anemic. Consult our suggested ‘Fertility Super Foods’ list and incorporate them in whenever possible. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. Foods rich in folate, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in fetal development, so start loading up on them!
Engage in regular physical activity
Staying active before pregnancy can help improve your overall fitness level and prepare your body for the physical demands of pregnancy. Engage in moderate exercises such as walking/running, swimming, or yoga if you are not use to daily exercise. If you already dedicate time to fitness, continue your routine and increase in areas you feel you need to. It is safe to continue the same fitness plan you utilize prior to pregnancy throughout your entire pregnancy – listening to your body, of course! Exercise increases the amount of clean, oxygenated blood flow, helping to prepare your uterus for a healthy implantation.
Manage stress levels
Reducing stress is a must for both your physical and mental well-being when TTC. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to lessen the burden of work-life-TTC balance. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you unwind.
Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep seems to be at the bottom of the priority list for most women; however when TTC, you need to schedule your nightly routine to get enough shut eye. Good sleep is essential for hormonal balance and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Avoid harmful substances
Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, and recreational drugs. A glass of wine is fine but try to keep it all in moderation while getting your body to its healthiest version. Substances that can negatively impact fertility and harm the developing fetus are just not worth it. It's also important to limit or avoid exposure to environmental toxins.
Take prenatal vitamins
Start taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin before you conceive. Prenatal vitamins help ensure you're getting the essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being underweight or overweight can affect fertility and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. Aim for a healthy weight by following a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity.
Stay informed and seek support
Read books, attend prenatal classes, and seek guidance from healthcare professionals to stay informed about pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. Surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends who can provide emotional support throughout your journey.
Remember, every person's journey to pregnancy is unique. By taking proactive steps to prepare your body for pregnancy, you're setting the stage for a healthy and joyful experience of becoming a parent.