Whether you are a soon-to-be mom or a mama bear with a crew of cubs, you need to make sure you are prepared for one of the biggest and most life-changing phases of your life.
Pregnancy is, no doubt, hard on the body, which means you need to be physically strong and ready to endure a barrage of significant changes. Luckily, doing things like eating right and taking fertility supplements can help you get physically prepared.
But you need to make sure you are prepared for the emotional side of things, too. In this article, we will cover some of the essential items to add to your list of pregnancy prep, from the hormonal shifts to the lifestyle changes, of which there are many, so you can stay calm and enjoy the entire journey.
- Going Off Birth Control – Of course, discontinuing all birth control forms is the first thing you will want to do before trying for a baby. While you can get pregnant the day after you stop taking your birth control, your body does take one to two months to return to its normal cycle, depending on the type of birth control you use.
This means you should stop using at least a couple of months before you intend to get pregnant. Different birth control options work in different ways, so make sure to talk to your doctor about the timeline regarding your specific birth control method and when it is best to stop taking it.
- Readying Your Body for Pregnancy – We all know pregnancy puts the female body through the ringer. In order to help you nurture a living being, your body makes plenty of accommodations — your belly grows, your uterus becomes enlarged, and your appetite shifts. Naturally, all of these things require you to be in good physical health in order for them to occur without complications.
To prepare your body for these physical changes, be sure to follow these tips:
- Take a fertility supplement to help ensure that your body is equipped with the micronutrients it needs to become pregnant and sustain a pregnancy. Supplements such as DHEA and CoQ10 can help support your reproductive health, so they are an excellent choice for women hoping to become pregnant as soon as possible.
- Take a prenatal vitamin (yes, even if you are not yet pregnant) so your body has all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients required to support a healthy pregnancy. Some of the most important nutrients to take during this period include folic acid, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Folic acid is especially important during the pre-pregnancy phase because it can help prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy.
- Optimize your diet and make sure to stay at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, overweight women have a much higher chance of pregnancy complications. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says obesity during pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, sleep apnea, and other issues.
- Stay active in order to help maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. You also want to make sure you are strength training and building muscles in the legs and core, as this will help you avoid pain or injury while you are pregnant and eventually giving birth.
- Get vaccinated. Staying up to date on all your vaccinations is a crucial part of family planning. Your immune system must be in tip-top shape to get pregnant and grow a healthy baby.
- Making the Big Lifestyle Changes – Preparing for pregnancy is not just about doing new things to improve your health but discontinuing the use of some things that could hold you back from getting and staying pregnant.
- Cut out drinking, smoking, and drug use. It is a good idea for women to cut back on or completely stop some of the bad-for-you stuff that they may be consuming regularly or on occasion, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, recreational drugs, and certain prescription drugs. Let your doctor know you are trying, so they can determine whether or not your prescriptions are safe.
- Take a good, hard look at your skincare routine. Certain types of skincare products are risky for pregnant women. For example, acne medications such as isotretinoin can cause severe birth defects in babies. Make sure you are not using any products that could be cause for concern.
- Discontinue certain cosmetic treatments. You also may want to discontinue certain cosmetic treatments, such as Botox, filler injections, or certain types of facials. Do not go tanning, get your hair dyed or undergo any laser treatments if you are trying to get pregnant.
- Preparing for the New Phase –The day you find out you are pregnant, you will experience a hurricane of emotions — joy, bliss, stress, and, of course, a new world of physical pains and discomfort. To keep yourself calm and enjoy the entire experience, make sure you prepare yourself mentally, as well, by prioritizing your mental health.
Talking to loved ones or a mental health therapist can help you work out some of the stress and worry you may be feeling. It may also help journal about your emotions and keep a diary of how you are feeling both physically and mentally each day. Make sure to invest in self-care as you are trying and once you eventually conceive. A happy, stable-minded mama is best!
The Importance of Being Prepared
Like anything in life, your pregnancy experience will be much better and more enjoyable if you are prepared for the process. Making some important lifestyle changes will help ensure that you experience as little physical pain as possible. At the same time, you need to make sure you prioritize your mental health. With these helpful tips, you will be set up for success throughout the entire journey, from that very first positive test to the day you meet your bundle of joy.