6 steps to prepare your body for pregnancy
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Many women know that once they are pregnant, it is important to focus on maintaining a healthy pregnancy. However, many women often overlook the importance of making small health changes before they become pregnant. These are changes that will prepare you and your body for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
1. Schedule a preconception visit
One of the best things you can do when you are preparing for pregnancy is to start consulting a doctor about your health. Because every woman’s health is different, you may need to take specific actions and steps. Think of this like a pre-trip safety check before driving your car on a long road trip. The better prepared you are for pregnancy, the healthier you and your baby will be.
During this visit, it is also worth asking for a genetic screening blood test. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says women wanting to get pregnant should get this test before conception.
2. Double check your insurance
Make any insurance policy changes related to pregnancy before you get pregnant. Certain insurance carriers often prohibit you from changing your policy once you are pregnant.
Without proper insurance coverage, many of the necessary visits you need during and after your pregnancy often get skipped. “Approximately 1 million women give birth without adequate prenatal care each year. Their babies are 3 times more likely to be born at low birth weights and 5 times more likely to die than babies born to women who keep up with regular prenatal visits,” according to Healthline.
Also, ensuring that you are properly insured will eliminate unnecessary financial stress later on during your pregnancy as well as after the baby is born.
3. Visit the dentist
Going to the dentist, for most of us, is rarely enjoyable. Consider, though, the fact that oral health plays an important role in pregnancy. Due to all of the hormonal shifts your body will go through during pregnancy, your gums will behave differently and react to plaque and bacteria in new ways. It is common to experience swollen and tender gums during pregnancy. A pre-emptive visit to the dentist will greatly minimize your chances of gum disease and complications during pregnancy.
4. Eat a balanced diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is something that everyone should be doing, but especially those seeking to get pregnant. Parents magazine suggests you “start eating a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables every day, and reduce your unhealthy-fat intake. Boost your consumption of foods that are rich in iron and calcium, and consider taking a multivitamin supplement, too. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with vitamins A or D.”
You should take the multivitamin supplement seriously. One of the key ingredients of that supplement is folic acid, which has been shown to “reduce the risk of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida in babies.” (
5. Extinguish your smoking and drinking habits
Smoking is something that, unquestionably, needs to be eliminated from your life if you are hoping for a healthy pregnancy. Smoking is one of the few things that you, as a mother-to-be, have complete control over in your pregnancy.
Studies have shown that women who smoke are often less fertile, and experience increased risks of stillbirths and miscarriages. Not to mention, smoking during your pregnancy will put your baby at risk for a variety of health problems, including SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Alcohol consumption is something that you should plan to avoid while pregnant as well. According to Babycenter, “once you’re pregnant, experts recommend that you stop drinking altogether since no one knows exactly what potential harmful effects even the smallest amount of alcohol has on a developing baby.”
If you do not already maintain a fitness plan, now is the time to create your own regimen and stick to it. Thirty minutes of daily exercise is great. If you are new to maintaining a fitness routine, start with the basics — 30 minutes of cycling, walking or jogging each day is a great place to start.
Taking care of these six steps before (and during) your pregnancy will help you achieve and maintain a healthy pregnancy. For any questions related to your pregnancy, we recommend consulting your local physician or doctor.