7 Healthy Ways to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

Ineh Olisah

There are many things you can do to help prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy while TTC. And because these tips center around living a healthy lifestyle and keeping your body in good shape, some of these tips can also improve your fertility health!

1. See your doctor

It’s a good idea to have a general health check before trying for a baby – especially if you have long standing health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.

Certain preventable infections, like chickenpox, German measles and hepatitis B, can cause miscarriage or birth defects, so it’s important to make sure you have been vaccinated.

You may also want to discuss stopping contraception – which may involve having a coil or hormone patch removed. Depending on the method you have been using, you may have to wait a few months for the hormones to leave your body.

READ ALSO:7 Common Causes of Miscarriage & How to Minimize Your Risks

2. Exercise

Trimming 10 to 15 pounds from your frame will make it easier for overweight women to get pregnant. It will also help you have a healthier pregnancy and delivery with fewer risks and complications. And if you’re on the skinny side, check with your doctor about whether you should bulk up a bit. Being too thin can affect your menstruation thereby interfering with fertility.

Starting an exercise regimen while TTC — whether it’s walking a few times a week or penciling in a Pilates class — increases the likelihood you’ll stick with it during and after pregnancy, making it easier to get your body back after baby arrives.

3. Take a prenatal vitamin

Prenatal vitamins are a great source of folic acid, but most multivitamins have an ample amount as well.  Many healthcare providers recommend that any woman thinking about getting pregnant in the next three to six months should start taking a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid. This is to help boost fertility and to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you’ll need during early pregnancy.

Getting enough of this B vitamin before and early on in pregnancy can reduce brain and spine birth defects by up to 70 percent and is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider about what they recommend for nutritional supplementation before pregnancy.

READ ALSO:6 Things That Will Make Your Delivery Easier

4. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine

Drinking alcohol and caffeine during pregnancy? We don’t need to tell you they are a major no. Because there is no universally agreed-upon “safe” amount of caffeine or alcohol during pregnancy, many healthcare providers recommend abstaining from both (although most research indicates that up to 200 mg of caffeine each day is probably safe) during pregnancy.

The idea of saying goodbye to wine or coffee might be tough, so it might be a good idea to get a jump on things by cutting back now — that goes for your partner, too. Excess alcohol intake has been shown to interfere with your fertility and can also lower sperm count in men.

5. Work on your diet

Keeping to a healthy diet is most crucial during pregnancy. It helps your baby develop properly, paces your weight gain, and can contribute to reducing some symptoms. If you think your diet might be a bit less healthy than it could be, you can use your TTC time to transition into a more healthy diet overall, complete with plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables — the natural fuel sources your body needs to perform at its peak, before, during, and after pregnancy.

6. Rest and relax

If you’ve been trying for a baby for a while, it’s only natural to worry and become stressed. While ‘just relaxing’ is easier said than done, extreme stress and lack of sleep have both been linked to infertility – so it’s important to rest and relax as much as possible.

While stress itself doesn’t cause infertility (although if it causes you to miss periods, you won’t be ovulating) it is associated with behaviours which can impact on your chances of conceiving – such as eating badly, weight gain (or loss) and insomnia.

If stress is affecting how you eat or sleep, try talking over your concerns with a trusted friend. Simple things like exercise, listening to a relaxation CD or learning to mediate have proved helpful for many people.

READ ALSO:6 Things That Will Make Your Delivery Easier

7. Stop Smoking

No level of smoking or exposure to smoke is safe.

Smoking cigarettes, even socially, can affect your egg quality and your hubby’s sperm — not to mention increase your risk of birth defects, miscarriage, preterm labor, and other conditions after you become pregnant.

It’s estimated that up to 13 percent of fertility problems may be caused by tobacco use, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. In fact, research shows that even women exposed to secondhand smoke have more problems getting pregnant than those who aren’t.

There you have it. Do not stress. Enjoy the process to becoming a parent. We wish you all the best!

 

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