Planning a Healthy Pregnancy

It’s an exciting time when you and your partner start thinking about getting pregnant. You’ll imagine what life will be like with an extra addition to your loving family and the excitement washes over you. Mentally and emotionally, you’re prepared. You’ve probably even started a checklist of everything you’ll need, doctors you’re interested in, and how your delivery will go. But are you prepared physically?

To plan for a healthy pregnancy – physically – you should be prepared. Preparation before conception is a great way to ensure your pregnancy is as healthy as possible and your body is ready and able to handle any struggles that will arise. In this article we’ll explore everything you need to know about planning a healthy pregnancy.

Preconception Checkups

The first thing you’ll want to do, about three months before trying to get pregnant, is schedule a doctor’s visit. Preconception checkups are a great way to make sure you know everything about your past, present, and future that could affect your pregnancy. You’ll discuss medical history, family history, and any vaccinations that your doctor recommends getting prior to trying to get pregnant. During this visit, you’ll also have a chance to discuss any tests or precautions to take to reduce the chances of birth defects. Come prepared with a list of questions and don’t be afraid to speak up!

Medical Conditions

If you have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what to do to get them under control. If you think you might be at risk, get tested for any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and treat them prior to trying to conceive. If you have chronic illnesses or suffer from asthma, it’s important to get everything under control.

Family History

If you don’t know what your family medical history entails, now is the time to find out. Since some health problems in families are passed down to children, either in the following generation or after skipping a generation, it’s good to know about any risks. If you’re unsure about your history, genetic testing is a good thing to consider. Genetic specialists and counselors are available to help you with any family medical problems that could be passed down to your child.

Blood Tests and Vaccinations

During your preconception checkup you need to talk to your doctor about any blood tests or vaccinations that you need. We’re not here to argue opinions either for or against vaccines, but it’s important to talk to your doctor. Getting vaccinations while pregnant is not recommended and if you want to have a healthy pregnancy, certain vaccinations are recommended to be up to date on.

Current Medications and Supplements

Finally, discuss any medications and supplements that you’re currently taking. Just because they’re safe for you to take does not mean they’re safe for your baby. A dose or product change will be recommended if anything is unsafe, or your doctor will recommend ceasing consumption altogether. During your preconception checkup, ask about alternatives and make sure that you’re 100% honest and transparent with your doctor.

Diet and Nutrition

What you eat affects both the chances of conception and the health of your baby during your pregnancy. Make sure you’re getting enough lean protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to do it’s job. Get enough fiber and start cutting out bad fats from your diet too. As a general rule, aim to eat mostly unprocessed, whole foods that give you the most nutrition. Cut out processed sugar and try to limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you consume. Doing so will help you set your self up for success throughout your pregnancy.

Get Down to a Healthy Weight

The ideal BMI for pregnancy, depending on your height, is anywhere between 18.5 to 24.9.6 Depending on your body, your healthy weight will differ from others. Rather than going on crash diets, focus on the above nutrition advice and aim to make long-term lifestyle changes. Check out this article for more information about how to get down to a healthy weight.

If you don’t already exercise, now is a great time to start. Not only will it help you reach a healthy weight, it’s a great way to boost heart health, fertility, and protect yourself against a number of illnesses. There are tons of pregnancy-approved workouts that you will be able to continue after conception and starting now will help you develop the habits you need to keep making healthy choices.

Start Taking Supplements for Pregnancy

After you’ve discussed supplements with your doctor at your preconception checkup, start taking supplements. 400 micrograms of folic acid is recommended every day, at least a month before conception and continually throughout. Folic acid helps protect your baby against major, preventable birth defects

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to making dietary, nutrition, and exercise lifestyle changes, it’s important to focus on your stress and mental health. Chronic stress is detrimental to the body, even if you’re not pregnant or trying to conceive. When you add the development of a baby, you run the risk of doing some serious damage. Instead, take the time to find some ways to reduce stress, get more rest, and improve your mental health before trying to conceive.

Mental health is the process of how we think, feel, and act as we face both the highs and lows of life. Contrary to what you might think, there are millions of people that struggle and nobody needs to go through that alone. If you have chronic feelings of anxiety, sadness, or stress – or if they interfere with your day-to-day activities – don’t hesitate to get help.

If you’re struggling with mental health, reach out to a doctor or a trusted friend or family member. Regardless of what you might think, there is a way to get the help you need.

The Countdown Begins

When you start trying to have a baby, keep in mind that you need to make sure you’re healthy and physically ready for a baby at least three months before conception. Take the following steps to ensure your countdown goes as planned and you give your baby the best.

Three…

Like we mentioned before, this is the perfect time to schedule a preconception checkup. This will give you and your partner enough time to cover all of your bases and get ready for conception. This is also the time where you should stop taking any medications or supplements that your doctor has deemed unsafe during pregnancy.

While it seems a bit strange, schedule a dentist appointment. It’s not recommended to get dental work done during pregnancy and dental problems are painful, persistent, and expensive if things go too far.

If you struggle with your mental health, try talking to someone or get treated for depression. Pregnancy has a lot of ups and downs and in order to give your baby the care they deserve, you need to be in a good place—both physically and mentally.

Two…

Now is the time to start focusing on your diet and nutrition. Aim for lots of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, lean protein, and mineral rich food. If you’ve cleared supplements with your doctor, this is a good time to start taking them.

Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid, which is a prenatal vitamin that helps reduce the risk of neural-tube defects and promotes an overall healthy pregnancy.

Two months out is a good time to start honing in on your pregnancy weight goals. If you’re a bit overweight, aim to lose a few pounds before trying to conceive. If you’re underweight, now is the time to pack on the pounds. Remember, being overweight or underweight during pregnancy both lead to problems.

One…

The final countdown begins! If you smoke, quit now; if you drink excessively, stop; if you find difficulty quitting bad habits, get help. Now is the time to make sure you are as healthy, fertile, and prepared as possible. Nicotine and alcohol have detrimental effects on babies and often make it more difficult to conceive. It should also be noted that illegal drugs will cause serious problems in pregnancy and should be 100% avoided, no matter what.

Similarly, if you’re addicted to coffee, you should try to find an alternative now rather than dealing with caffeine withdrawals during pregnancy. Try green tea, carbonated water, or even hot chocolate. It’s recommended not to exceed 300mg daily while pregnant, so slowly start to wean yourself off if you consume caffeine excessively.

Conclusion

Once you’ve successfully prepared for a healthy pregnancy, both physically and mentally, it’s time to start trying! Keep an open line of communication, eat pregnancy safe foods, and avoid doing any dangerous chores around the house both during the trying period and once you’ve conceived. If you have any questions about how to plan a healthy pregnancy, get in contact with your doctor or OBGYN. When planning for your pregnancy, don’t forget that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, expectant mothers are eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider! Visit Byram Healthcare today to browse all of the available selections and find other great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews.

If you want to share how you and your partner planned for a healthy pregnancy, visit our Facebook page today and leave a comment! It’s always helpful for first-time moms to know they’re not alone.

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