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Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy: 4 Key Steps

Being a parent is a significant responsibility that begins even before a child’s arrival into your home.

As a mother, there are certain changes you need to make before conceiving. This is because a mom’s health determines her baby’s well being.

That said, you need to be ready physically, mentally, and emotionally before bearing your child. To help you do that, this article teaches the four important steps you must take to prepare for pregnancy.

1. Boost your nutritional stores

A woman’s body undergoes extensive changes during pregnancy. Add that to the fact that you’ll be nurturing another life inside you means you need to increase your nutritional stores.

To do that, you must achieve at least two things:

Keep a healthy weight

During pregnancy, you’ll gain anywhere from 11.5 to 16 kilograms (25 to 35 pounds), depending on your unique circumstances. Because of this, you must strive to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.

Of course, this can mean different things for different women:

  • Those who are overweight need to gain less (no more than 7 to 11 kilograms).
  • Underweight women must gain at least 13 to 18 kilograms.

Remember: Maintaining a healthy weight keeps you and your child safe from complications during gestation and childbirth.

Begin taking prenatal vitamins

Whether or not you’re already taking vitamins for women regularly, you still need to increase your nutrient supply with prenatal supplements to prevent deficiencies early in the pregnancy.

Although there are several nutrients you must pay attention to, one of the most critical ones you should be looking for is folic acid (folate). This nutrient supports the healthy growth of your baby’s spinal column and prevents spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect.

2. Stop unhealthy habits

Smoking, alcohol drinking, and substance abuse can be troublesome not only for your pregnancy but also when you’re trying to conceive.

If you have any of these unhealthy habits, you must stop them immediately as they can make it harder for you to conceive or heighten your risk of miscarriage.

You may also experience the same challenges if you continuously drink more than two cups of coffee or five cans of soda a day. To be safe, keep your caffeine consumption to a maximum of 200 milligrams a day.

3. Stay active

Staying active even before you conceive can prepare your body for the changes it’ll undergo during pregnancy and labour.

Aim for moderate physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes four to five times a week. This should amount to 150 minutes of exercise weekly.

If you’re already quite active, you can increase your target to 300 minutes of exercise per week. You can also try uphill hiking, cycling, or jogging if you need a more challenging routine.

If you’re not used to exercising, begin with some light walking for 10 to 15 minutes, working your way up until you can reach the 150-minute weekly exercise threshold.

4. Visit your doctor

Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you must still talk to your doctor before pregnancy.

Below are a few things you can go over with a medical practitioner to help you get ready:

Track your ovulation

Your ovulation – also called the fertility window – is the time of the month when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

If you don’t know much about your fertility window, you need to start tracking it now using various methods, as follows:

  • Mobile apps that help you monitor your menstrual cycle.
  • Ovulation prediction tests bought over the counter.
  • Basal temperature charting that uses a special thermometer to check if you’re ovulating.

Depending on your age (among other things), you may also need to set a special preconception consultation with an obstetrician. This may overlap with your physical exam, so make sure you ask any reproductive questions that may be bothering you (e.g., pregnancy readiness, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.).

Discuss your family’s medical history

Learning your family’s medical history is important for both maternal and foetal medicine. After all, your family’s health issues can become not only your own but also your child’s.

Some medical problems in your family may also affect your fertility, including certain hereditary cancers like cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and uterine cancer.

If you know of any medical problems your blood relatives were diagnosed with, inform your doctor about them. This way, the medical practitioner responsible for you and your child’s wellbeing can make informed decisions about diagnostic tests, screenings, and other procedures to minimise potential complications.