If you have decided to start a family, you may be very excited. You’ll find yourself thinking about baby names and how to decorate the nursery–but don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you get pregnant, there are ways to prepare your body so you can be as healthy as possible for your baby.
Here are some guidelines to consider:
- Schedule a Checkup. Take time to meet with your doctor and talk about any medical concerns or questions you might have. Bring information about the types of birth control you have used in the past and what medications you take, as well as any previous pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases you’ve had. Check to be sure that all your vaccinations are current.
- Take Supplements. Talk to your doctor about taking prenatal vitamins and appropriate supplements. Studies show that both folic acid and iron are good for your growing baby, and it’s a good idea to start taking them early.
- Kick the Habit. If you smoke, stop right away. If you’re having a hard time, talk your doctor about the best strategies. Remember that smoking can hurt your unborn baby, and it’s bad for you, too.
- Cut the Caffeine. Most doctors suggest that moms-to-be avoid caffeine—or significantly limit the amount. Your best bet might be to stop consuming coffee, tea, and soda now. If you’re accustomed to drinking a lot of caffeine, you may get headaches and feel tired as you quit. You don’t want to experience those symptoms during your first trimester, when you’ll likely feel pregnancy-related fatigue and nausea.
- Get to a Healthy Weight. If you are overweight, lose the extra pounds before you conceive. If you start out too heavy, you may be considered a high-risk pregnancy. You will also increase your chances of having high blood pressure and developing gestational diabetes.
- Skip the Alcohol. Most doctors agree that alcohol is off-limits when you’re pregnant, so you probably should stop drinking now. Keep in mind that you may not know you’re pregnant for a few weeks after you conceive, and you want to avoid any booze as your baby forms in that first month.
- Look at Your Lifestyle. Be honest with yourself. If you use any illegal drugs, get clean before you conceive. Research shows that drug abuse can lead to birth defects, miscarriage, and low birth weight. Your drug use can also result in your baby being born addicted.
- Check the Air. Take the time to have your home and workplace checked for radon, asbestos, or chemicals. You want your environment to be as pure as possible.
- Eat Well. Before you get pregnant, you want to be your healthiest. Do yourself and your baby a favor by following a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
To learn more about preparing for pregnancy, contact the Women’s Center at North Hills Hospital. Visit us online or find a doctor through our physician directory. Serving North Richland Hills and Northeast Tarrant County, we’ll help you get ready to be a healthy and happy parent.