When I became pregnant with Brody, I had no idea what an impact my pre-conception habits and diet could have on my pregnancy. As I started researching, I realized there is a TON of information out there. But what was really important? What would have the biggest impact on a healthy pregnancy and the birth I had hoped for? Now, as a childbirth educator, I realize there are many things you can do before you conceive to set yourself up for a healthy, happy pregnancy. Below, I've rounded up the top 6 on my list.
1. Adjust Your Diet
The foods you eat and things you put in your body before conception can have an impact on your ability to conceive and the health of your pregnancy. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, start making changes now. Right around the time I became pregnant with Brody, my husband and I were doing a month of Whole30 eating. It helped us break some of our not so healthy habits. Below are a couple of adjustments that may lead to a healthier baby and easier pregnancy.
- Pass on the Fried Foods. Fried and greasy foods are known to be a common trigger for morning sickness. Eliminate these from your diet before you conceive.
- Abstain from Alcohol. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends women avoid alcohol when they are planning to become pregnant. With your baby's nervous system forming before your may even know you are expecting, try abstaining from alcohol while you are trying to conceive.
2. Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
Besides eating your fix of leafy greens, taking a prenatal vitamin before conception is often recommended by OB/GYNs and midwives. New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal is one of my favorites. It not only includes folate, but also Vitamin D3 and iron--both of which are essential during pregnancy. This prenatal support includes a blend of organic herbs and fruits which are safety reviewed for pregnancy. Some prenatal vitamins require you to take them with a full stomach, but that is not the case for Perfect Prenatal, which can be taken on a empty stomach. With the nausea and lack of appetite that often accompany the first trimester, being able to take the vitamin without food is helpful. Bonus: It can easily be ordered on Amazon. After pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, I still take a prenatal vitamin on a daily basis.
3. Get Moving
In healthy pregnancies, moderate exercise is often recommended for the momma-to-be. Exercise has many benefits during pregnancy. In the first trimester, when exhaustion weighs heavy, exercise can provide energy. The movements help with blood flow, which can reduce your chances of swelling. At your first prenatal visit, your care provider will often let you know that if you have been working out before conception, it is usually safe to continue your routine during pregnancy (although you might have to make adjustments for a few of the moves). If you are planning on becoming pregnant, start that workout routine now. Maybe it's a yoga class or maybe it's jogging--start making it a habit. During my pregnancy with Brody, I continued with our daily fitness bootcamp up until I was 8+ months pregnant. It helped me from gaining too much weight, it made transitioning back to a workout routine postpartum simple, and kept me from experiencing any swelling.
4. Start Researching Care Providers
The relationship you have with your care provider can really determine your birth experience. Start researching local midwives and OB/GYNs prior to becoming pregnant. Seek out referrals from local friends and start asking questions. Below is FREE printable list of questions you should ask the care providers you interview. The answers to these questions will give you an insight into the care providers philosophy on birth and how it aligns with what you envision your birth to be like.
5. Track Your Cycle
As you prepare for pregnancy, start tracking your menstrual cycle in the 3-4 months before you would like to conceive. There is a small window of opportunity to become pregnant each month and this time frame varies from woman to woman dependent on your cycle length and other factors. Kindara is a free app in the app store that is simple to use and can help you track your basal body temperature, your cycle, and your cervical mucus as your prepare for pregnancy.
6. Visit Your Dentist
Did you know that pregnancy puts you at a increased risk for periodontal disease and gingivitis? Having your teeth and gums cleaned and checked before your become pregnant can identify problems that you may be able to treat prior to conception. Schedule an exam with your favorite dentist before the pregnancy hormones cause your gums to be painful or bleed. Some dentists will not do dental X-rays on you when you are pregnant, so if your due for X-rays be sure to squeeze them into your schedule as well.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.