Let me just start by saying that “NO! I am not pregnant, nor are we planning on having more kids!” However, I have been pregnant once or four times, so I do know a little bit about the process – and would LOVE to share those experiences with you. Here is everything you need to know to prepare for pregnancy – for new moms and veteran moms alike! (because we tend to forget things over time)! I have had the pleasure and luxury of preparing for pregnancies, and…. well – maybe once I wasn’t all that prepared! Please – share these tips with any of your friends who are of child-bearing age, because there is nothing I want more than to help someone get a good start on their journey through motherhood. Remember – if you don’t have the opportunity to prepare for your pregnancy, then these steps are still valid and can be applied as soon as you get the good news!
- Get a complete physical! Most of us probably get our annual “lady” exam on a somewhat regular schedule, but going to see our primary care physician when we aren’t sick sometimes ends up on the eternal “to do when I have extra time” list. However, if you wish to get in the business of growing humans, then getting your “vehicle” tuned up and checked out is warranted and rather prudent.
- Have your “annual lady exam”, or at least make sure that you have had it within a reasonable amount of time and that your pap smear (who thought of that name anyway) came back normal.
- Meet with your primary care physician for complete blood work and physical.
- Review with your doctor any medications you are currently taking: prescription, over the counter, vitamins and even any essential oils. You may be advised to increase, decrease or completely stop taking some medications. Make sure to give your doctor FULL DISCLOSURE so the two of you together can come up with a good plan on what is best for you and your future baby.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins! Yes, now! Don’t wait until you pee on a stick and get the two blue lines. One of the most important parts of the prenatal vitamin is the folic acid. I learned (over time) to take my vitamin at night before bedtime to reduce the queasy feeling in the morning.
- Reduce or remove any stress in your life! I know, sometimes that is easier said than done. But I always find it rather liberating when I turn down social engagement for the sake of my own wellbeing and health. Pregnancy doesn’t hinder you from living your life, but it is nice to go into a pregnancy with as little on the agenda as possible. I have tried it both ways, and I can completely vouch for the fact that stress-free is the way to go!
- Treat your body like the temple it is and modify your life style accordingly. Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes are not a baby’s best friend. Get help to quit any dangerous or unhealthy vices; have an open dialog with your health care provider as they may have resources available to help you start a new chapter.
- Continue your moderate exercise routine if you are in good shape and have been doing it for a while.
- Be sure to discuss any exercise with your OB/GYN once you become pregnant.
- Yoga and meditation are great exercises to start if you have not been physically active in a while. Once you become pregnant, pre-natal yoga is wonderful for you and your baby.
- Chart your cycle! Get familiar with your menstrual cycle, which can change over time and after each child birth. Perhaps you were a regular 28 day’er in your 20s, but lately you have morphed into a 30-35 day’er, or a “as the wind blows” kind a gal. Mark the calendar on the first day of your last menstrual cycle, IF you were to become pregnant during this cycle that is the date doctors, nurses and complete strangers at the grocery store will ask you – until you start your next cycle, which could be years away!
- Become a student of your ovulation! Learn to calculate when you ovulate. Get in tuned with your body, so you can “feel it.” Some women can tell when they ovulate, others sail right through their 28-days of female bliss.
- Find a partner! Oops, this list is clearly not in order of importance! Sorry about that. Finding the right mate is obviously THE most important part in the process! So get on it – so to speak!
- Don’t do what I did – Please do NOT share the fact that you are “trying to get pregnant” with anyone other than your closest friend(s). There is nothing worse than (well-meaning) people asking you “soooooooo… do you have any news for me yet?” While it is of course a happy time in your life, you do not want the unnecessary stress or pressure “to perform” if it takes you longer than two days to get pregnant. And in other news: telling people you are “trying” is really just announcing that you will be having LOTS of unprotected sex with your partner!
- Stock up on ovulation detection kits and pregnancy tests! These kits and tests can add up rather quickly, especially if it takes you more than a cycle or two to get pregnant – and chances are it may. I bought a big Combo pack of Ovulation Kits and Pregnancy Tests at Amazon – and you can too! (affiliate link) I used a number of these tests with my last pregnancy and then passed the rest on to a friend who was also trying to get pregnant. I am happy to report that this particular brand helped conceive one little Jonah and my friend’s twins!
- Last but not least: Relax & have “FUN” – lots of it! (without going into further details – Enjoy!)
What was your favorite part of being pregnant? Personally, I just loved feeling the little flutters and later the full-fledged kicks. To me those signified the special connection between mama and baby.
My Pregnancy board on Pinterest is full of additional great articles and resources. I add new content daily! Follow the board for the latest articles related to pregnancy and the early days of motherhood!