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Although some might say you can never prepare for pregnancy, that’s not entirely true. Yes, your emotions might be difficult to predict, especially if this is your first pregnancy, but there are definitely some things that you can prepare for, and it is a good idea to get started as soon as you can.
Know Your Doctor
When you are planning to get pregnant, scheduling an appointment with your doctor or OBGYN is a great idea. They will ask you questions about your medical health, your mental health, lifestyle and environmental factors, and you may find that they can actually help you when it comes to tips on the best way to have a healthy pregnancy. This preconception visit will put things into a clearer perspective for you, and that is important not just for you but your partner too.
Not only should you make this appointment and discuss your potential pregnancy, but it is also a good idea to get the details of your local urgent care provider just in case you need their help over the next nine months or so.
Start Taking Folic Acid
Taking a folic acid supplement can help you immensely when you are planning to become pregnant. Start taking it at least a month before you actually begin trying to conceive, and continue taking it during your first trimester. If you do this, you can help keep your baby healthier – studies have shown that taking folic acid supplements can cut the chances of your baby developing conditions such as spina bifida by 50 percent or more.
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Folic acid is easy to buy over the counter at pharmacies, grocery stores, or health food stores. You should check the labels to ensure that you can get 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, as this is the amount you need to keep your baby healthy.
Give Up Bad Habits
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs (illegal or prescription) are not conducive to a healthy pregnancy, so it’s best to stop before you become pregnant. When it comes to prescription drugs that you are taking for a specific condition, it’s best to speak to your doctor about what you should do if you want to become pregnant – they may be able to prescribe you a different medication, or reassure you that the one you are on won’t harm your baby or your chances of conceiving.
Other habits are harder to give up, but it is essential when you are preparing for pregnancy. If you find that you can’t, then the habit may be worse than you thought, and it could be time to seek professional help. This will all need to be dealt with before you try to have a baby because you want to be as healthy and engaged as possible through the process and beyond.
Although you’re not yet eating for two, you can still start eating more healthily before you are actually pregnant, and it could even help you to conceive. At the very least, it will make you feel better and get you ready for when junk food and sugary drinks really need to be avoided. Besides this, aiming for a healthy weight before you become pregnant will increase your chances of conceiving more easily, and will mean that you will remain healthier throughout your pregnancy. If you are overweight when you conceive, the extra strain that the additional weight you will put on as your baby grows could cause problems and make you unwell.
Eating more fruit and vegetables is a good way to start when it comes to preparing for pregnancy. Your baby is going to need all the nutrients and vitamins that these foods provide, and the only way they are going to get these essential nutrients is for you to consume the food that contains them.
Create An Exercise Program
Exercise when you are pregnant is just as important as exercise when you are not. Therefore, it’s a good idea to create a fitness program that you can follow now, and that you can continue to follow when you are pregnant – at least until the final trimester. Although you may think that once you get pregnant you shouldn’t exercise anymore, it is actually recommended that you keep doing so for as long as possible. This will keep you and your baby healthier, and will also mean that labor can be easier as you will be more flexible.
Cut Down On Caffeine
Right now, there is no real consensus as to how much caffeine is safe to have when you are pregnant, but ideally, to be safe, it is best to cut down or give it up completely. If you drink a lot of caffeine, then cutting down before you are pregnant can help you – by the time you are pregnant, it won’t be such a struggle to drink less. Start by cutting down cup by cup; if you usually have two cups in the morning, make it one. If you have a cup during lunch, cut that one out and have water or juice instead. Taking it step by step will make the process much easier, and you won’t feel so much withdrawal.
Go To The Dentist
Your teeth might be the last thing you think about when you are preparing for pregnancy, but with all the hormonal changes that will occur when you do become pregnant, they – and your gums – can suffer if they aren’t taken care of. Therefore, it is a good idea to get checked out at the dentist to ensure that your teeth are healthy. If they are, then with regular brushing and checkups, they should remain healthy. If they aren’t, your dentist will be able to help you before you become pregnant and the problems get worse. Remember, when you do visit your dentist again after you have become pregnant, make sure they are aware of the fact so that they use safe products and don’t send you for an x-ray.
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