We’re told becoming pregnant and carrying a healthy baby to term are two of the most natural things in the world, but try telling that to anyone who’s struggled with fertility issues and miscarriages. The harsh truth is that for many couples, pregnancy isn’t easy. If you’re ready to bring a new life into the world, it pays to prepare your body. Take the following steps before becoming pregnant to give yourself the best chance of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.
Get to a Healthy Weight
Many of us aren’t at our ideal weights, but when we’re planning to get pregnant our plans of overhauling our bodies often go out the window. Once you are pregnant you’re bound to get heavier anyway, right? This may be true, but it pays to get healthy before you conceive. Women at a healthy weight find it easier to become pregnant than women who are underweight or carrying extra weight.
If you’re heavier than you’d like, eat a balanced diet with a good range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. If you’re underweight, try a low-carb diet to gain weight. Your healthier diet will also decrease your chances of developing health conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Have a Pre-Conception Check-up
Don’t wait until you are pregnant to see your doctor. A pre-conception appointment where you discuss your plans is a great idea. He or she can assess your current medication and suggest alternatives if any of them could harm your baby.
If you’re aware of any health issues that may impact your chances of conceiving or delivering a healthy baby, your doctor can give you informed advice. He or she may also suggest blood tests or other preconception screen tests, especially if hereditary diseases run in your family or your partner’s.
If you’re not up to date on your shots, your doctor can also organize vital vaccines for diseases including rubella and whooping cough. These shots will help you prevent contracting illnesses that could harm your baby and, in some cases, give your developing little one some protection.
Give Up Alcohol and Cigarettes
You know you should quit drinking alcohol and smoking once you’re pregnant, so why not nix these nasty habits now? Quitting cold turkey can be tough, so starting the process before you become pregnant makes sense.
If you need some added motivation, it’s worth noting smoking and drinking can also make conception more difficult and increase your miscarriage risk. The extra puffs and cocktails just aren’t worth it.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine may seem like the only acceptable vice when you’re pregnant, but it’s smart to cut back on your cola and coffee before and during pregnancy too. People who drink more than five caffeinated sodas or two cups of coffee a day find conceiving more difficult and have an increased risk of miscarriage. If you’re drinking more, it’s time to reduce your caffeine intake.
When it comes to pregnancy, there are no guarantees. However, taking the time to prepare your body for pregnancy using the tips above should give you the best chance of conceiving quickly and helping your baby thrive.