Trying for a baby? Being healthy before, during and after pregnancy involves so many different aspects of your life. So, we’ve compiled a quick list to help you stay on the healthy side.
See your practitioner before becoming pregnant.
Start changing your food habits to include a healthy variety of foods.
Exercise! Starting now will help you stay in shape during pregnancy, can lower your risk of miscarriage, and has been proven to help reduce labor complications and length.1
Eat a new vegetable you’ve never tried.
Check out a book on pregnancy.
Decide what you’d like to do about birth control. You may need to find out how quickly after stopping birth control you can get pregnant, or how you would plan to get pregnant in conjunction with stopping your current contraception pills or birth control devices.
Quit smoking. There are many programs to help you.
Take a prenatal vitamin. They can be prescribed by your practitioner or you can buy them over the counter. Ensure it contains 0.4 mg of folic acid.2
Ask your partner to join you on your new healthy habit changes.
Track your cycles. Learning what you can about your cycles will help determine when you ovulate and when you conceived. These make for more accurate due dates.
If you need a new practitioner, interview before you become pregnant.
Ask your friends about pregnancy and parenthood.
Avoid chemicals that could possibly harm a developing fetus. Learn about the common dangerous chemicals that could be lurking in your home, work place, and community.
See your dentist before you get pregnant and brush your teeth daily.
Tell any medical professional that you may be pregnant if you are trying to get pregnant. This can prevent exposure to harmful tests and chemicals if you are pregnant and don’t know it yet.
If you have a cat, read up on the risk of toxoplasmosis and your cat’s litter box.3 If possible, avoid changing the cat litter while you’re pregnant.
Remember: it can take months to become pregnant. However, if you have been trying to get pregnant for longer than a year—or for longer than six months, if you’re 35 years or older—then you should see your doctor.
Act pregnant. This includes not drinking alcohol, even while trying to conceive. There is no known safe level during pregnancy and alcohol can cause birth defects.1
Announce your pregnancy when you’re ready.
Talk to your parents, what do you want to take from their experiences? How do you want to be different?
Rest when you can. Nap!
Start a journal or a pregnancy blog.
Talk to your doctor or midwife about the safest remedies for common pregnancy problems like nausea, heartburn, and constipation.
Drink 8 to 10 8-oz glasses of water (at least!) a day.
Read yet another book!
Join a prenatal yoga or exercise class.
Keep your prenatal appointments with your midwife or doctor. This will help ensure that if you have any problems that they are caught early and kept to a minimum.
Take an early pregnancy class.
Remember to add 300 to 500 calories a day to your diet while pregnant.1
Tour your selection of birth facilities before making a choice if you are not having a home birth.
Review the signs of premature labor and warnings signs for when to call your practitioner.
Keep a food diary to ensure that you are keeping up with your daily requirements.
If you are decorating your house or a nursery remember to avoid fumes often associated with paint and wall paper. Perhaps have friends do the heavy work while you help make snacks for them. Keep the windows open!
Baby sit a friend’s baby and learn a bit about caring for a newborn.
Take a childbirth class. Sign up early to ensure you get the class and dates that you want.
Swimming is great in late pregnancy. It can help relieve a lot of aches and pains and makes you feel weightless.
Take a breastfeeding class to help prepare you for the realities of breastfeeding.
Stretch before bed to help prevent leg cramps.
Continue to exercise, even if you have to slow down. This will help you recover more quickly.
Write a birth plan. Something to help you clarify what you want or need for your birth experience. Share this with your practitioners and those you have invited to your birth.
Have film and cameras ready!
Practice relaxation whenever you can. Try for at least once a day.
Do pelvic tilts to help with late pregnancy back pain. It will help relieve your pain and even encourage the baby to assume a good birth position.
Pack your bags if you are going to a birth center or hospital. Don’t forget your insurance cards, pre-registration forms, camera, birth plan, etc.
Review the signs of labor and warning signs.
Take a picture of yourself before the baby comes!
Read birth stories.
Kiss the baby!