If you’re trying to conceive — or even just thinking about it for the future — it’s never too early to prepare your body for pregnancy.
Below, board-certified OB/GYN Karen Allsup, FACOG, MD, and our Aurora OB/GYN team share five ways you can prepare your body for pregnancy.
Even before you have a positive pregnancy test, taking a prenatal vitamin, or at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day, is a good idea. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube birth defects, such as anencephaly and spine spina bifida.
Because neural tube defects can often occur before you even realize you’re pregnant, taking a prenatal vitamin (or at least 400 mcg of folic acid) now ensures that your growing baby receives the nutrients he needs.
It’s never a bad idea to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allsup if you’re considering becoming pregnant. Many women on birth control may need to plan to either stop taking birth control pills or remove an intrauterine device (IUD). If you are currently on birth control, Dr. Allsup can help you determine a good timeline for going off the pill or deciding when to schedule an IUD removal.
During your appointment, Dr. Allsup may also address any fertility concerns you may have. Some conditions, such as fibroids, may impact your ability to conceive, and treating those conditions may be ideal before trying to conceive. On the other hand, if weight gain is contributing to infertility issues, we also offer weight loss programs to help address infertility.
Nutrition during pregnancy is essential for your health and your baby’s, but you don’t need to wait until the baby’s on board before you change your diet. In fact, slow changes now may be easier than changing your diet all at once.
You may consider slowly weaning yourself off of caffeinated beverages. Caffeine consumption during pregnancy has been linked to several issues, including growth rates of children. The current guidance is to consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine, although many mothers choose to forgo it altogether.
In addition to reducing your caffeine intake, you may consider adopting other pregnancy-friendly dietary habits, including:
You can learn a lot about your nutritional needs during pregnancy by getting a head start on pregnancy books. Many pregnancy books include sections on nutrition, or you can find a book that focuses solely on nutrition.
Exercise is good for everyone, whether you’re pregnant, postpartum, or trying to conceive. Exercise is an especially good way to prepare your body for pregnancy because it:
Another benefit of exercising before pregnancy is that your body will have an easier time adjusting to exercising while pregnant. Exercising while pregnant can help you manage a healthy weight gain, support healthy moods, and help prepare your body for delivery.
Finally, and certainly not least, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to address any untreated issues before conceiving. This includes reproductive issues (such as fibroids) and other conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Both diabetes and high blood pressure can cause complications during pregnancy, so it’s important to manage the conditions as best you can. In many cases, diet and exercise can help improve these conditions.
If you plan for months before trying to conceive, chances are good you may address all of these tips in this article. However, we know that sometimes pregnancies aren’t planned, and that’s okay. If that’s the case for you, don’t fret! The best way to prepare your body (and mind) for pregnancy is to do what you can when you can with the knowledge that you have.
Dr. Allsup and our team are here to help you navigate your journey to motherhood, no matter how you arrived at this phase! Give us a call at 210-547-4700 to schedule your first prenatal appointment Or, simply use our online form to book your next appointment.