Even if you are not actively trying for a baby, it’s not a bad idea to start considering certain health and lifestyle changes. Here is our checklist for prenatal prep.
- Find a care provider before you are pregnant. You will want a general check-up to make sure you don’t have any conditions or take medications that might interfere with pregnancy. It also gives you a chance to make a connection and get comfortable with the person who will help bring your baby into the world.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins. You will take this vitamin throughout pregnancy, but many doctors recommend starting the practice up to three months before you start trying to conceive. It’s especially important for the folic acid that helps prevent certain birth defects.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco use can affect your fertility and also contributes to premature birth and low-birth weight. Talk to your doctor about cessation programs if you need help quitting.
- Cut back on the alcohol. Drinking during pregnancy is controversial and can lead to birth defects, but it also can affect your ability to conceive. Go ahead and get used to the virgin margaritas before you become pregnant.
- Clean out the fridge. Avoid the fatty foods and opt for more fiber, fruit, vegetables and lean protein. You’re creating a healthier environment for your baby to live in for nine months!
- Exercise! Obesity is a big hurdle for fertility, and can cause more problems down the line in pregnancy. If you aren’t a fitness junkie, start small. Find a workout routine you enjoy, like walking, cycling or yoga, and just commit to 20 minutes a day.
- Get to the dentist. You are susceptible to gum disease during pregnancy because of hormonal shifts and increased blood volume. So get a good cleaning before pregnancy, and remember to brush and floss.
- Know your insurance policy. Hospital bills for childbirth will vary depending on your coverage. Talk to your insurance company so you can prepare for medical expenses and save accordingly.