You say you want to have a baby? A crying, pooping, life-disrupting baby? If you’re still with us, then congratulations! While you may never be 100 percent ready for the challenges that a baby brings, you can make sure your body and your relationship are healthy, strong and ready for pregnancy.
Talk about it.
Start the conversation with your doctor early on to help you get as healthy as possible. Be honest with your physician about your habits—drinking, smoking, eating, exercise—and discuss medications you’re taking. It’s also extremely important to talk to your partner about his or her health and your expectations. Discuss everything from healthy food habits to discipline philosophies to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Check the family tree.
Do you have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, seizures or thyroid disease? Are there genetic conditions in your family history? Sit down and map out who had what and look for patterns. Sometimes, that warrants genetic counseling and possible blood tests, but more often than not, it’s a typical health history.
Get off the pill.
It seems obvious, but if you’ve been on birth control, it can take a few months for your body to reset for pregnancy. If you have an IUD, that will need to be removed by your doctor, and if you’ve been getting Depo-Provera shots, those will take even longer to get out of your system.
Hit the vitamin store.
Although most nutrients come from the foods you eat, experts recommend taking a prenatal vitamin before you attempt to get pregnant. Folic acid and iron are the primary things you want in a prenatal supplement. Because the first eight weeks of pregnancy are critical for the baby’s development, it’s important to start taking these before conception to ensure your system is well-stocked.
Make over your meals—and other habits, too.
If you drink alcohol or smoke, now’s the time to stop. This is also a good time to evaluate your caffeine intake and ramp up the amount of fruits, veggies, fiber and water in your diet. If you are overweight or underweight, talk to your doctor about the best way to reach a weight that’s healthy for you and your baby. Excess weight during pregnancy is associated with complications, including high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes, while being underweight increases the risk of having a low-birth weight baby.
Ready or not?
You just got the happy news. LifeFit’s Baby University offers classes to help you prepare for the arrival of your newborn. Click here to learn more.