So you’re thinking about trying to get pregnant? Congrats! A healthy pregnancy begins before you become pregnant. What you do now, can make sure your future pregnancies are healthy. Here’s what you can do now, to begin preparing your body, yourself, and your partner for pregnancy and starting a family.
9 Practical Things to do BEFORE You Get Pregnant
Getting your body ready for pregnancy and growing a baby, starts 2 to 3 months ahead of when you would like to start trying to conceive. First, these are the things to do before you start trying to get pregnant, which will help you during pregnancy and give your baby the best conditions possible to grow and develop for 10 months.
1. Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin
Generally, it’s recommended you begin taking a quality (preferably organic) prenatal vitamin three months before conceiving. Prenatal vitamins are packed with nutrients which are essential to the early development of your baby.
Prenatal vitamins can help reduce the chance for neural tube defects, which happen in the first 4 – 6 weeks of growth. During this time, you most likely aren’t even aware you’re pregnant, but by taking prenatal vitamins before conception, you’re already giving your baby the best chance of healthy growth.
If you find your prenatal vitamins are making you nauseous, try taking them at night before you go to sleep. You may also need to try out different brands to find one that fits your tummy. I really liked this brand of prenatal vitamins when I was pregnant the second time.
2. Make Nutrition & Health a Priority
Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight prior to pregnancy, will all help to ensure your body is ready to grow a baby. This is general advice for anyone pregnant or not, but during pregnancy when the average woman gains 35lbs, getting to a health weight before this will decrease your chance of difficulties during pregnancy like diabetes and pre-eclampsia which not only affect you, but your baby.
If you want to lose weight, doing this before getting pregnant, is a good time to do it.
Also, before you are pregnant, enjoy intense exercise because this will be greatly reduced when you are growing a baby.
3. Schedule a Check-up with Your Doctor
Scheduling an appointment for an overall health check-up and to talk with your doctor about starting to try to get pregnant is important. This check-up will make sure your body is ready for pregnancy, but that there aren’t any hidden sicknesses you aren’t aware of, or that could affect pregnancy and your baby.
Check with your health insurance provider if your annual physical exam is part of your coverage. If you would like any genetic screening before pregnancy, to see if you are a carrier for any abnormalities, you can do this at your appointment as well.
You can also do a full DNA screening with 23andme at home, if you feel more comfortable doing this at home.
At this appointment, your doctor will talk to you about how to help prepare your body for pregnancy. If your doctor is part of a family practice, she may be with you throughout your pregnancy, and see your baby after he or she is born.
4. Enjoy These Foods While You Can
Certain foods are off-limits while you’re pregnant… so enjoy the while you can!
Spicy Foods can easily cause heartburn in pregnancy, even if you’ve never had it before. Soak up the spicy chips and salsa now, before it becomes painful. If you’re like me and have never had acid reflux before, don’t be surprised if it shows up while you’re pregnant.
Soft cheeses are a big no during pregnancy, (such as soft Mexican cheeses like queso blanco and blue cheese).
Sushi is off limits – anything with raw fish in it is a no-no.
Dishes where eggs are not cooked completely (Caesar salad dressing, eggnog, raw cookie dough, soft scrambled eggs, or sunny side up eggs – where eggs (yolk & white) are not cooked completely.
5. Hot Water – Hot Tubs & Hot Showers
I love taking hot baths and even visiting our local hot springs, but soaking in hot water (hot tubs, hot showers, hot baths and hot springs) are strictly prohibited during pregnancy.
When your body temperate spikes, so does your baby and this can put them in distress and cause them to overheat and lead to complications. Also, pregnant woman more easily get dizzy and light headed throughout pregnancy. Being in hot water can increase the chances of passing out and being light headed while you’re in hot water and becomes a danger to you.
6. Physical Activities & Extreme Sports
Certain physical activities while you’re pregnant will be off limits including horseback riding, white water rafting, rollercoasters, rock climbing and mountain biking, and winter activities such as snowboarding, skiing, sledding and snowmobiling will be on the prohibited list.
If you’re an active person or outdoor enthusiast, enjoy these before you get pregnant because you’ll have to sit them out for the next 9 months, or more!
7. Sleep Now, While You Can
This won’t come as a surprise I’m sure, but once you’re pregnant and especially after your baby arrives, sleep will become a thing of the past. Take advantage and sleep now. Enjoy staying up late and sleeping in, and especially sleeping on your stomach and back.
When you’re pregnant, middle of the night bathroom calls will frequently interrupt sleep and after 16 weeks you aren’t allowed to sleep on your stomach or back, and it’s recommended you sleep on your left side to help with blood circulation. The limited sleep position can cause hip pain and restless nights of trying to sleep… take advantage and enjoy sleep now!
Get a quality pregnancy pillow (this pregnancy pillow is normally $49.99 but when you use the code PRAGMATIC1 it’s free (you’re only responsible for the shipping!) Be sure to check out all the other great freebies for expecting Moms.)
During our third pregnancy, we actually bought a new mattress and sleep was more comfortable and more restful. If you are in the market for a new mattress, now may be the best time to treat yourself (and go straight for the king size bed because with kiddos, you’re going to need it!)
8. Spend Time with Your Partner… Maybe Even Take a Babymoon
Once your baby is here, your focus will inevitably shift to your baby. Take time now to nurture and strengthen your relationship for those sleepless nights debating over who is taking night feedings and 2am diaper changes.
If you are planning a vacation, do this before you are pregnant and may not be feeling your best. If you wait until you’re pregnant to get away, the end of the second trimester and first few weeks of the third trimester would be ideal timing for a vacation.
During the second trimester when your energy picks up and you start to feel great again (and can comfortably walk around and stand on your feet), this is a great time to plan a little babymoon.
9. Evaluate Your Finances
Welcoming a baby into your family is incredible, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. It’s time to take an honest look at your finances and see if now really is the best time to begin trying for a baby, or if you’ll be in a better spot financially in 6 months or a year.
If you are buried in debt, focusing on your finances first, may be the wiser choice. Here are helpful ways to help plan for a baby on a budget.
Download a 1st Year Baby Budget to get a better snapshot of what a baby costs during pregnancy and in the first year, so you can prepare for these expenses now.
The Ultimate Pregnancy Organization Toolkit
Be sure to snag the Preparing for Baby Toolkit Here – Read more about what’s inside to help you stay organized and prepare during every step of your pregnancy, and after you bring baby home. This information will help you prepare for baby, won’t let you forget any detail during pregnancy and take the overwhelm out of expecting a baby. Read more about what’s inside and how the preparing for baby toolkit will help you.