As a desiring future mother myself, I often wonder if I am preparing in the right way for this transition into pregnancy. When should I see my doctor? What foods should I eat/avoid? What vitamins should I be taking? When should I be concerned I am not pregnant? If you find yourself asking similar questions, I hope that together we can explore these uncertainties and find some useful answers.
Make a List of Goals
It is easy to feel bombarded with all the things you want/ should do to prepare. Sit down and make some goals with your partner. Talk through your feelings, expectations, questions, and concerns. How often should we have sex? How will we keep track of fertility? Who will look into financial arrangements like contacting the insurance, the doctor, etc.? This will help you along the journey towards fertility together.
See Your Doctor
For many women, it is helpful to talk to your doctor before getting pregnant. This is an opportunity to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that may affect your pregnancy. Your doctor can discuss any medicines you are taking, vaccines you might need, and the steps to take before pregnancy to prevent certain birth defects. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Consider bringing a list of questions to discuss.
Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health
Mental and Physical health encompasses many important elements such as weight risks, drinking and drug habits, and your overall wellbeing. Mental health includes how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. Everyone feels anxious, worried, sad, or stressed sometimes. However, if these feelings do not go away, it is important that you get help. Help Me Grow offers an emotional well-being screening to check in with women’s emotional well being once pregnant and during the postpartum period. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about your feelings and treatment options.
Our physical health can become neglected from time to time, but it is important to take care of our bodies in preparation for pregnancy, and in general for a healthy life. Avoid or stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs. Regular exercise and eating right can improve the pregnancy process. If you have not started in healthy habits already, now is the time to start!
Take Important Vitamins and Nutrients
How can you better your eating habits while trying to conceive? It is important for moms, before and during pregnancy to get enough folic acid/ folate in their diet. The recommended amount is 400 micrograms a day. Folic acid is crucial in forming healthy cells and in preventing birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. You can take a prenatal vitamin that has 400 to 600 mcg of folic acid or find it in certain foods such as
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach
- Citrus fruits, such as orange juice
In general, consider a healthy diet with plant-based foods. Reduce the amount of fat, salt, and sugar on your plate and consult with your doctor for further recommendations.
When Should I be Concerned I’m Not Pregnant
It is easy to feel discouraged when you realize you are not pregnant. Use this as a time to bond with your partner. Discuss your needs and desires further and find joy in the things you can control. Dwelling in disappointment is not helpful for either of you. Infertility affects about 1 in every 6-7 reproductive age couples. By definition, infertility is the failure to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. If you find yourself in this situation, it is time to consult an infertility specialist.
In summary, desiring and preparing for pregnancy can be an exciting time with a flood of questions and emotions. Be patient with yourself and your partner. Talk about your health and needs during this time, and include your doctor in the process. Make goals to reach your mental and physical health goals and find joy along the way!