Prepare Physically

You can prepare for a pregnancy and the journey toward parenthood.

Whether you’re planning to become pregnant or just thinking about the possibility, preconception health and healthcare focus on things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy baby.

Talk With Your Healthcare Provider

Schedule a preconception appointment with your doctor so they can review your medical history, order necessary tests, answer your questions and recommend possible lifestyle changes. Your OB/GYN will be part of your care, before, during and after your pregnancy.

You want to avoid alcohol when trying to conceive, avoid cigarette smoke both direct and second-hand if possible.

Start taking a daily multivitamin that has at least 400 MG of folic acid. Folic acid is very important right at the very beginning of pregnancy even when you don’t even know you are pregnant yet, as the baby’s organs are forming, it does help prevent birth defects.

Healthy Mind and Body 

Your baby’s organs will begin forming in the first weeks of pregnancy, possibly even before you know you have conceived. The best way to give your baby a great start and make sure your body is ready to be pregnant is to consider your eating habits, physical fitness and emotional health. Woman’s pregnancy and childbirth experts can help you get in your best possible physical and emotional shape before pregnancy.  

Factors such as your weight compared with your height and what you eat can play an important role in your health during pregnancy and the health of your developing fetus. Woman’s offers nutritional guidance, including private consultations, classes and programs designed to help you make the good choices. Ask about specific information on pre-pregnancy or pregnancy nutrition so you can start your healthy eating plan.

Fitness in Pregnancy

While this is not the time to start a new high intensity fitness program, it is a terrific time to focus on your health. If you’ve always been active, you don’t have to cut back now that you’re expecting. Woman’s Fitness at Woman’s Center for Wellness offers prenatal and postnatal exercise and relaxation classes. Always check with your doctor to be sure that your desired level of activity is safe during your pregnancy.

    Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 cancer-causing compounds. When you smoke during pregnancy, that toxic mix gets into your bloodstream, which is your baby’s only source of oxygen and nutrients. Nicotine and carbon monoxide are especially harmful; when combined, they reduce your baby’s oxygen supply.

    Smoking can cause:

    • Prematurity (baby born too early)
    • Low birth weight (baby born too small)
    • Miscarriage or stillbirth
    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    • Birth defects
    • Learning difficulties

    View these fact sheets for more information on:

    No amount of alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy – even a small amount. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy, either. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer. Drinking alcohol can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause poor growth, cognitive disability, physical defects, vision and hearing problems, and learning and behavioral problems. Women who drink during pregnancy are also more likely to have a miscarriage, stillbirth or a baby born with a low birth weight.

    Read more information on alcohol and pregnancy.

    Caffeine may cause serious problems for your baby, such as low birth weight, breathing problems, sleeplessness and irritability. Caffeine is linked to an increased risk of early miscarriage. Reduce your caffeine consumption to no more than 200 mg per day, or about one 12 oz cup of coffee. Be aware that caffeine can be found in tea, soda, chocolate and some medications as well.

    Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. Stress is common during pregnancy. Your hormones are changing, which can cause your mood to change. Life issues like managing work responsibilities may have you stressed. If you experience serious kinds of stress like a negative life event or a catastrophic event, talk to your partner, a friend or your healthcare provider. High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. When you’re pregnant, this type of stress can increase the chances of prematurity or a low birth weight. 

    Encourage your family and everyone around you and your baby to get vaccinated for certain diseases, including whooping cough and flu. This creates a circle of protection called “cocooning.” It is best to vaccinate prior to your baby’s birth because it takes at least two weeks to build immunities. Contact your healthcare provider for additional information. 

    If you need a dental or medical X-ray while pregnant, make sure your dentist or provider knows you’re pregnant or possibly pregnant.

    Most women are more tired than usual during pregnancy, especially during early and late pregnancy. Get plenty of rest. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm shower, napping during the day, going to bed earlier and using a body pillow for comfort.

    If you were at a healthy weight (a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9) before pregnancy, you should gain 25-35 pounds. Talk to your doctor about healthy weight gain.

    Check Up, Down There.

    When you see your gynecologist, it is vital that you feel comfortable being entirely honest, even though some of these questions can be quite personal.

    Look at cell phone while sitting on couch.