Statistics tell us that about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, which leaves us with another 50% of pregnancies that we can assume women (and couples) are planning to conceive. If you fall into this group of planners (hello to all my Type A babes) – or perhaps you’re just beginning to dream about your own little bundle of joy (eep! exciting!) this article is for you.
Preconception care can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby.
Yes yes and yes. On top of making an appointment a midwife or doctor, here’s why you might consider a few lifestyle modifications as well.
1. Get an appointment on the books.
The time in your life when you decide to start trying for a babe is monumental, sweet, and special! There’s lot’s to plan and get excited about- but hang on for a second mama, pause on the nursery decoration Pinterest board and pick up the phone to make an appointment with your women’s health care provider first to talk about preconception care.
Yes it’s true: months before you get pregnant is the best time to start your pregnancy care.
2. Start your preconception care.
If you haven’t heard of it before, preconception care is the term that describes what is typically one or two visits with a women’s healthcare provider when you’re in the pre-baby planning stages. This care helps to make sure your health status is in its prime before bring babe on board. Your provider will review specific health maintenance relative to pregnancy such as:
–Help you get any pre-existing diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, obesity, depression, eating disorders, or asthma under control. (All disease processes that can affect a pregnancy or affect getting pregnant.)
–Double check that all of your medications, skin care products, and supplements are safe for pregnancy.
–Be sure you’re taking the correct doses and ingredients in prenatal vitamins, folic acid, and omegas.
–Are up to date on important vaccinations that protect you and baby during pregnancy.
–Discuss your medical and family history.
–Be sure your mental health is in a good place or discuss options to help you get there pre-baby.
–Offer screening for any inheritable genetic conditions and discuss you and your partners risk status for genetic issues if you’d like.
3. Get your environment, finances, and lifestyle in check.
Financial planning, logistics and looking at timing in relation to your careers, social calendar and life obligations are a great place to start before you decide you’re ready to jump into pregnancy and baby land – and these are important considerations you may have already taken in to account. Another consideration that is less commonly discussed that I would highly recommend thinking about is living your most healthful lifestyle before and during trying. Why should you care? Its all about epigenetics (if you’re wondering what the heck that means check out this super fascinating article).
We know that sperm and egg regenerate their epigenetic material every 4-6 months – so when two people join sperm and egg during fertilization (bow chica wow-wow), it’s not just the genes you (the parents) were born with that you pass on – but the way the environment and your lifestyle has influenced your genes as well.
That being said; you should generally be in your happiest and healthiest state possible when it comes time to conceive.
Right around the time you and boo begin to think about when you want to try for babe is a great time to each focus on becoming your healthiest version of you.
Think about these suggestions:
- Incorporate regular heart pumping exercise.
- Moderate alcohol consumption.
- Stop any smoking or recreational drug use.
- Eat the rainbow – fresh veggies and fruits as much as possible and limit processed food.
- Decrease excessive sugar consumption (I recommend 20 grams or less per day to my clients.)
- Decrease excessive stress.
Life is full of sweet surprises and that’s a great place to be – if you’re already pregnant don’t fret! It’s never too late to live as healthfully as possible and be proud of the work you’re doing, no matter how small or great.
Just carrying a child is tremendous work in itself.
If you have the privilege, time and space to plan for babe – preconception care with a provider in advance and considering these lifestyle modifications are a great start. Good luck lil mamas!