So, you and your significant other have made the decision that you want to have a baby. Prior to trying to conceive and getting started on painting the nursery, there are a few things that you need to do to prepare your body before it is ready to have another life inside of it. Here are three tips for preparing for pregnancy.
Tip #1: Get Your Body Moving
You have probably heard that you should exercise while you are pregnant, but it is also a good idea to go ahead and start exercising now before you conceive. Getting in shape now—and staying in shape throughout your pregnancy—will not only make your pregnancy easier, but it will also help make labor and delivery easier on you, your body, and your baby.
Try to strive for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three to four days a week. A good workout can consist of brisk walking, swimming, bicycling, hiking, etc. As long as you are getting your heart pumping, you are doing it right. You can even consider joining a prenatal exercise class if there is one available in your area
Tip #2: Eat Healthily
Once you actually get pregnant, you will start getting cravings—and some of them will be pretty crazy like pickles and ice cream. So, it is important that you focus on eating healthy right now. You need to eat lots of calcium, iron, folic acid, and protein, so stock up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, leafy greens, and low-fat dairy products. Do your best to reduce your consumptions of soda, baked goods, chips, and other junk food. If it helps, see if your significant other will join this healthy eating quest with you.
Tip #3: Stop Smoking and Drinking
You may not realize it, but smoking actually makes it more difficult for you to conceive. Plus, if you smoke while you are pregnant, there are risks for you and the baby like miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. Keep in mind that secondhand smoke is just as bad.
Also, because you have no idea when you may conceive, you should go ahead and stop drinking alcoholic beverages. Similar to smoking, drinking makes it harder to get pregnant. Plus, drinking while pregnant increases the risks of learning problems and birth defects.
If you are thinking about trying to get pregnant, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. See if there are any tests, vaccines, etc. that you need and if there is anything in your life—like medications—that should be changed since you are trying to conceive.