Today we have an awesome question from one of our readers…I’m thinking of getting pregnant soon, but I’m afraid my current weight may be unhealthy for both baby + me going into pregnancy. What can I do NOW to start preparing my body for a healthy pregnancy?
So, you’re planning to become pregnant, congratulations! This is such an exciting time! It’s no surprise that pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the body during those 9+ months that it’s growing another human. So just like an athlete pre-trains to get ready for an event, a woman can (and should) pre-train the body to get ready for pregnancy.
Here are some things you can start doing today to get your body ready for the marathon of growing a baby:
- 1. Start eating healthy. Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to give up those processed foods and added sugar. Once you’re pregnant, your practitioner will give you a list of foods (or food groups) you should be focusing on in order to give baby a healthy start. But, it’s important to start following a healthy diet before pregnancy. It’s no secret that while you’re pregnant, you’re body feeds and gives nutrients to the baby first. So if there isn’t enough of a particular nutrient, you will be the one to suffer first (then baby if you become more depleted). It’s important that mom (and baby, of course) stays healthy throughout pregnancy and into the postnatal period (so you have enough energy to last through all those sleepless nights). So clean out the cabinets of all the processed foods. Focus on eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin. If you have a nutrient deficiency, it can take your body a few months to re-establish the necessary levels. If you’re planning to become pregnant, start taking your prenatal vitamins now to create a healthy environment for baby. It will be difficult for you body to re-establish your levels while also trying to support the growth + development of your baby. It may also be a great idea to get your vitamin levels checked now, to determine if you have any deficiencies and need to increase your intake of certain vitamins or minerals before becoming pregnant. You can also overdo it on the vitamins, so a check of your levels can help you to be mindful of your body’s needs. Which leads me to my next suggestion….
- Schedule a physical with your doctor. He/she can assess your current health status and let you know if there are any areas that are concerning. If there are any underlying medical issues that you weren’t aware of, it’s better to address them before becoming pregnant, if possible. Your doctor will also give you some suggestions about improving your lifestyle.
- Get moving! Exercising regularly improves your physical and mental health. It also helps you to shed any extra weight. You want to go into pregnancy as healthy as possible. If you’re overweight going into pregnancy, it can increase your risk of many pregnancy-related complications like pre-eclamsia and gestational diabetes. And, mentally, carrying around stress can significantly increase your likelihood of pregnancy (and postpartum) complications as well. It’s important to find an activity that you really enjoy (don’t exercise just to exercise!) and stick with it. Once you become pregnant you should be able to continue any physical activity you were doing before pregnancy (but, of course, consult your practitioner). And, BONUS, being fit during pregnancy, usually helps prepare you for the marathon that is labor.
- Give up those bad habits! It’s best to give up those bad habits like excess caffeine, alcohol, smoking, sugar, or fast foods now before you become pregnant. There are so many rules (for good reason) during pregnancy, don’t wait until you’re already pregnant to start following them. Get your body and your mind ready now, so when you become pregnant you’ll already be over the stress and cravings that go along with changing your lifestyle.
So, there you go, five things you can start doing TODAY to get ready for a healthy pregnancy. And, if you’re already pregnant, it’s never too late to get started. Remember it takes time to change your habits, so be patient with yourself.