10 ways to prep your body for pregnancy
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Thinking about having a baby or already trying to get pregnant? It’s never too early to start getting ready. Experts agree being well-informed and adopting healthy lifestyle habits prior to pregnancy is one of the smartest things you can do.
Even if you’ve been pregnant before, check out our Top 10 Pregnancy Prep Tips to make sure you’re not missing anything.
1. Talk with your doctor
Before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will ask you about your health history, medications you are taking and previous pregnancy problems you may have experienced. They’ll let you know if you need any vaccines or if you should make some lifestyle changes prior to pregnancy.
2. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking and using certain drugs
Drinking alcohol, smoking and using certain drugs is not the way to prep your body for pregnancy. Not only are they bad for you, they put your unborn baby at risk for birth defects and premature birth. Need help breaking a habit? Ask your doctor for resources and advice.
3. Take folic acid every day
Experts recommend you take 400 micrograms of folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant and at least one month during pregnancy. Doing so greatly reduces the risk your baby will be born with brain or spinal birth defects.
4. Avoid toxic substances
Before and during pregnancy, avoid toxic substances like fertilizer, synthetic chemicals, bug spray and rodent feces. If you have a cat, don’t clean the litterbox yourself either. Exposure to toxic substances is not only dangerous, it can make it hard to become pregnant.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
Being either underweight or overweight can cause problems. If you’re obese, it’s harder to great pregnant, plus you’re more likely to miscarry or experience stillbirth. If you’re underweight, there’s a greater chance your baby will be born premature or a low birth weight.
6. Get help if you’re experiencing violence
Domestic violence not only is wrong and puts you at risk – your unborn baby could be injured, too, or worse. If you need help, talk confidentially to your doctor, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233).
7. Address any existing health issues
Certain health problems can potentially get worse when you are pregnant. If you have any pre-existing health issues, such as asthma or diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before getting pregnant to discuss how these things might affect you or your unborn baby.
8. Get mentally strong
Stress, sadness and depression take their toll mentally, and they’re also not good for your physical health. So, if you’re planning to become pregnant and these issues are a concern for you, talk to your doctor about care or treatment options that are available to you.
9. Cut out the caffeine
If you drink more than two cups of coffee or five cans of caffeinated soda a day you could have a harder time getting pregnant – and a have greater chance of miscarriage. The obvious choice is water – not only is it one of the healthiest options, it’s also free.
10. Start – or keep – exercising
Exercising before pregnancy supports your body and can help it handle the changes that you will go through during pregnancy and birth. If you already exercise moderately, you should be able to continue with strength and aerobic exercise. If you haven’t exercised, you should add exercise into your habits more gradually.