Things to do before falling pregnant

Pregnant mom

Falling pregnant is a big deal

Deciding to have a baby is a big decision in one’s life. It’s a commitment that you make for the rest of your life, for better or for worse, through good times and bad times.

Pregnancy comes with many physical and emotional challenges. Many of these are out of your control.

You can, however, increase your chance of a healthy pregnancy before you start trying.

Lifestyle changes

Both my pregnancies were ‘semi-planned’; we knew we wanted a baby but we weren’t exactly sitting down and planning every detail of falling pregnant.

No matter at what age you decide to have a baby, you will benefit from healthy lifestyle changes. While some of these are pretty straightforward, there are some others that you may not have thought about:

Stop taking birth control

It seems like one of those obvious things to do, but most doctors recommend giving up your birth control a couple of months before trying to fall pregnant.

Once you stop taking the medication, your body needs to adjust. Consult with your doctor on the matter, and if you’re worried about falling pregnant before you’re ready, ask for recommendations on alternative birth control options.

Lose any bad habits

You don’t want to do anything that can harm your baby in the crucially important first few weeks of pregnancy, so lose habits such as drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs and smoking.

These can have negative effects on your growing baby.

Lessen the caffeine intake.

Many of us live for coffee. One or two cups of good quality coffee a day won’t do harm, but try not to over-indulge.

Exercise

Getting in shape before falling pregnant helps pave the way for a more comfortable pregnancy.

A healthy body could help foster a more comfortable pregnancy.

 

Read more on keeping your body fit and healthy during pregnancy here.

Diet check

This might seem like an obvious one, but most women only start thinking about this after they fall pregnant.

Time to kick the junk food habit and make healthier choices. Try to eat regular, balanced meals to help get your body healthy and strong.

Start taking a prenatal vitamin

All pregnant women need to take a prenatal vitamin to make sure they’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Prenatal vitamins help protect your unborn baby from birth defects as well as make sure they stay healthy from the moment of conception.

It’s best to start taking a prenatal vitamin before getting pregnant.

Check your medications

Speaking of vitamins, a lot of medication may not be safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re unsure of the safety of any of the medication you’re on, speak to your doctor.

If necessary he/she may prescribe an alternative to the medication which will be safe to use.

Once again, medication in the early weeks before you even know that you are pregnant has the potential to cause harm.

Doctor check-ups

If you’re planning on getting pregnant, book a check-up with your doctor. This is an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns with the doctor so you know what you to expect and what to adjust.

Check your medical aid plan

Giving birth is an expensive exercise, especially if you’re planning to give birth at a private facility.

Before getting pregnant, check your maternity plan to see what is covered by your medical aid.

Study your finances

Having a baby is expensive. Nappies, formula, baby, clothes, school- the list goes on.

Make sure to have an open conversation with your partner and discuss your budget to avoid future worries.

 

Once you fall pregnant, your life changes FOREVER. Enjoy each phase you find yourself in and embrace each new phase as it comes.

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Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.