Six Healthy Changes to Make Before You get Pregnant
The idea of being pregnant made me think about what I want to do to prepare if we’re fortunate enough to conceive again. Here are healthy steps I’m planning to take now.
Cut back on coffee. Pregnancy was exhausting. Not being able to revive with caffeine made it that much worse.
This time, I’m cutting back beforehand to make the transition easier. The March of Dimes advises pregnant women to limit caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams per day, about one cup of coffee.
I’m not a smoker, don’t do drugs, and my alcohol consumption is limited. I’ll become a teetotaler again once we start trying. If you’re trying to conceive or are already pregnant and need help quitting, talk to your doctor.
Take vitamins pre-pregnancy. The last time around, I didn’t start taking prenatal vitamins until I was already pregnant. This time, I’m starting earlier. I don’t take daily medications, so it will be good to establish the habit. More importantly, neural-tube defects such as spina bifida happen early in pregnancy. Many women don’t even know they are pregnant until they’re six weeks along. A vitamin containing folic acid can help prevent neural-tube defects.
Get healthy eating in check. With my daughter, I periodically emptied a co-worker’s jar of Skittles, “for the baby.” I did better in other areas. I made sure I wasn’t eating anything not advised during pregnancy. I upped my protein and calcium intake. I cut out soda, except for a few nausea-quelling ginger ales.
Still, I know I can do better. I’d like to prepare some healthy freezer meals for those times I know I won’t feel like cooking. I’d also like to follow a food plan specific to pregnancy, such as the one found at ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Take care of health concerns. Luckily, I’m healthy right now and my doctor has given us the all-clear to proceed. Last time around, I had a suspicious-looking mole biopsied before we took the plunge, just in case. It turned out to be benign, but I felt a lot better knowing.
Exercise. Other than walking from my car to work, I hardly exercised during my last pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy can help you feel more energized and keep you in shape and ready for labor. I’ve been consistently working out and I’m going to keep going with the hope that pregnancy won’t slow me down.
Make my smile a priority. Elevated progesterone and estrogen levels can throw your oral health out of whack during pregnancy. I already have a managed case of periodontal disease, which can result in premature, low birth weight babies. I’m going to spend extra time brushing and flossing before pregnancy to ward off red and tender gums.
I’m hoping a little prep work before pregnancy can help me stay healthy throughout. Do you have any healthy pregnancy tips?
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Photo credit: Tatiana Vdb