Do you feel a growing desire to become a mother? Before getting pregnant, a word of advice: remember to prepare yourself for this great physical and emotional upheaval. Here is a list of rituals to do before planning a pregnancy.
Has the thought of having a baby tickled your mind for some time? Do you spend your time thinking about what your life would be like if you were to become a mom? If yeas, are you ready? Because a pregnancy is about preparing: vitamins, good habits, medicines, life as a couple. Before stopping your contraception, take stock in order to know if you are really ready to get pregnant, in order to live your pregnancy as serenely as possible especially if it is your very first pregnancy.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of essential things to do before getting pregnant.
1. Make an appointment with the gynecologist
Make an appointment with your gynecologist to let him or her know about your desire for a baby. He or she will give you a general assessment to guide you as best as possible towards your future pregnancy. You can ask any questions you want, and talk about fertility, ovulation, etc. So do not hesitate to ask all the questions you want on the day of the consultation.
2. Stop the cigarette
This is one of the top things to do if you want to get pregnant: stop using tobacco, alcohol and/or other drugs, since these substances are most dangerous for your unborn baby. Indeed, the complications of smoking and alcohol consumption in pregnant women are well known, and the first victim of these is the fetus. Stopping smoking a month before pregnancy already lowers the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, as well as that of miscarriage or premature birth. Furthermore, smoking during pregnancy has irreversible consequences on the future health of the baby.
For optimal weaning, do not hesitate to see a tobacco specialist or a doctor specializing in addictions.
3. Reduce your coffee consumption
Are you a heavy coffee drinker? Before getting pregnant, consider limiting yourself to a maximum of two or three cups a day! This is because caffeine passes through the placenta, and it takes longer for your unborn baby’s body to metabolize this substance than yours, so the baby may be very restless. It can even affect the proper development of the brain. On the other hand, you may be more prone to insomnia and palpitations, which will cause you some discomfort and some health concerns during your pregnancy.
4. Check out your diet and medication
Eat more fruits and vegetables, buy organic products, exercise, drink more water. Consider adopting healthier habits in your daily life before getting pregnant. They will then become a part of your life when your baby is lodged inside you. You can, for example, give your body its daily dose of sport, walk for 20 minutes or stretch for 10 minutes in the morning and evening. If you are already prone to back pain, do not neglect them, and start strengthening your lower back with targeted exercises.
When it comes to your diet, it is recommended that you avoid certain foods when you are pregnant, such as unpasteurized dairy products, raw fish or large fish that contain more heavy metals. Or the fruits and vegetables most exposed to pesticides, which you should rather buy in the organic section of your local supermarket. Start looking at the labels now!
5. Talk to you doctor about your medications
If you take medication on a regular basis, talk to your doctor to make sure the medications you are taking are compatible with pregnancy. If not, ask your doctor to prescribe your others. Be careful, changing your medication is sometimes more complex than it sounds, and often requires a few adjustments before finding the one that is perfectly suited to your body and your desire for a child.
6. Take folic acid and iron supplements
You do not need to binge on vitamins if you eat a balanced diet and do not have any particular deficiencies. However, getting enough folic acid – the ultimate prenatal vitamin – and iron when you want to conceive are essential. And this to reduce the risk of malformations in the baby such as spina bifida, cleft lip or heart defects.
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is directly involved in the production of genetic material for your unborn baby. It therefore intervenes from the first moments of fertilization and is essential for the formation of the spine and the brain. The recommended daily allowance is 400mg. As for iron, it is an essential nutrient whose needs increase dramatically during pregnancy. Adequate supplements of iron and folic acid will ensure you get enough intake during pregnancy.
7. Take place on your couple
Unless you have made the decision to have a baby all by yourself, you should take stock of your relationship before adventuring into the process of getting pregnant. Doing so can help you prevent certain problems from escalating during and after your pregnancy. Therefore, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my partner also want to become a parent?
- How does he (or she) plan to get involved?
- Are there any tensions between us or problems to be solved?
- Is our couple loving and strong enough to live the adventure of parenthood?
So many questions to ask yourself before getting pregnant, and the answers to which will allow you to either confirm that you are both ready to have a baby, or that there are a few things to work on before considering pregnancy.
8. Create a “baby” folder
You can add all the information you will need during your pregnancy in a specific folder, and which will follow your child throughout his or her life. Classify all the useful documents according to defined categories: health, budget, nursery, etc. Take the lead in paperwork, you will have other things to think about when baby is around.
9. Go to the dentist
The hormonal changes involved in pregnancy have an impact on the whole body of the pregnant woman, even on her oral health! Nausea, acid reflux and vomiting can indeed damage your gums and teeth. This is the reason why it is strongly advised for women wishing to have a child to make an appointment with their dentist before becoming pregnant, in order to do a little check-up and treat any cavities.
10. Observe your ovulation period
Once the previous points are settled, it is decided: you stop your contraception! During the cycle that follows, remember to observe your body and the different phases of your cycle without contraceptives, in order to identify your ovulation. This will allow you to put the odds of getting pregnant in your favor!
Vanessa is originally from the Ukraine. She has been living in Florida for the last 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of South Florida. She covers mostly health and health-related issues for the Scientific Origin.