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Preconception Health: 10 Steps to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

Preconception Health: 10 Steps to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

If you know you want to get pregnant in the near future, now is a great time to prepare your body. Achieving optimal preconception health may take you a few weeks, months, or longer, depending on your starting point. 

Consider these 10 steps put forward by the experts at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland. The OB/GYN team wants to guide you to your best chance of having a healthy, comfortable pregnancy and a thriving baby. 

1. Start taking a prenatal vitamin

Prenatal vitamins aren’t just for when you’re pregnant. They contain essential nutrients that can optimize your health beforehand. Plus, taking one before you conceive gets you in the habit so it’s one less thing to think about when you do get pregnant. 

One of the most important ingredients in a prenatal vitamin is folic acid. Ample amounts of this nutrient help to prevent major birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. 

2. Refine your diet

Taking a vitamin isn’t a replacement for healthy eating. Make every effort to eat a balanced diet before and during pregnancy. This can optimize your hormones so conception is easier. Then when you do get pregnant, a healthy diet nourishes you and your fetus. 

A balanced diet contains plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. You don’t have to cut out all sugar and processed foods, but minimize them as much as possible. Whole foods are best. 

3. Get physically active

Being physically active helps throughout your body, like your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. A physically fit body is also less vulnerable to chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which can seriously complicate pregnancy. 

4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

A balanced diet and physical activity combine to help you achieve the goal of a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, you may struggle with infertility or complications during pregnancy. Women who are underweight also put their babies at risk. Talk to us about how to get to a healthy weight — and stay there.

5. Protect yourself from infection

While no one wants to be ill, it’s especially important to stay healthy if you’re trying to optimize your body for pregnancy. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, seafood, or eggs, which could cause food poisoning.

Wash your hands frequently to avoid contracting the flu, a cold, or COVID-19. You should also stay away from cat and other animal feces; they contain parasites and other toxins. 

6. Moderate your alcohol intake

Consuming alcohol while you’re pregnant can cause your baby to have growth and central nervous system problems, including low birthweight and behavioral issues. There is no safe time to drink alcohol, or a safe amount to drink, while you’re pregnant. 

Get in the habit of skipping wine, beer, and spirits now. Find alternatives like fruit spritzers or mocktails that help you feel festive without the alcohol. 

7. Quit smoking

Smoking during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight or prematurity. It also increases the risk that your baby will have a birth defect of the mouth. After you give birth, you don’t want your baby breathing in second-hand smoke either. 

8. Avoid toxic substances

Stay away from harmful chemicals, metals, fertilizers, and bug spray. These toxins can disrupt your reproductive system and make it harder to get pregnant. We can give you a list of common items to avoid.

9. Reduce stress

Psychological stress can affect your ability to conceive. Plus, it can cause problems during pregnancy, research indicates. Reducing stress benefits your fertility and helps you have a healthy pregnancy. 

The preconception period is a great time to start yoga, delve into meditation, or learn more about deep breathing techniques. 

If you feel like your stress is associated with a mental health problem, connect with a professional to get help. We can give you recommendations for people in the area who can help you feel in control of your stress, life, and mental well-being.

10. Schedule a preconception checkup

One of the best things you can do is come see us before you get pregnant. The OB/GYN team at Capital Women’s Care does a comprehensive review of your current health, finds out about your family and personal medical history, and reviews any lab work. 

This precheck can put your mind at ease, ensure your hormones are optimized, and allow for treatment of any underlying conditions that could complicate pregnancy. 

The OB/GYN team here at Capital Women’s Care is ready to help you feel your best and assist you in growing your family. We can’t wait to care for you. Call or use this website to set up your visit today. 

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