Making the decision to try for a baby is a HUGE milestone and something you need your body - and mind - to be in top condition for.
Most women know that a healthy mind and body are vital during pregnancy, but less is known about preconception health.
Preconception health and health care focus on things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase your chances of having a healthy baby - and a healthy pregnancy.
So here are 5 ways to prepare your body for pregnancy.
- Visit your doctor: Before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about preconception health care. Your doctor will want to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that could affect a pregnancy. He or she will also discuss any previous pregnancy problems, medicines that you currently are taking, vaccinations that you might need, and steps you can take before pregnancy to prevent certain birth defects.
- Catalogue your family history: Some diseases can be genetic, so share any known family history with your doctor. They might recommend genetic carrier screening to see if you or your partner is a carrier for any inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. If you or your partner is found to be a carrier, a genetic counselor can help you discuss your reproductive options.
- Take supplements: Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to give your body what it needs during pregnancy. So starting early can help avoid deficiencies during early pregnancy. You also need to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Folic acid is a B vitamin and if you have enough folic acid in your body at least one month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
- Eat a healthy diet: Healthy eating is always important, but it's crucial when you're trying to conceive. You should also ensure your BMI is in a healthy range.
- Exercise: Get moving with around 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least five times a week. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, helps with weight management and relieves stress, all vital when you’re trying to get pregnant.
- Get a handle on your stress: OK so stress reduction isn’t directly linked to improved rates of pregnancy. But stress can affect your overall wellbeing, which can affect your fertility.