Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit for Pregnancy
Author: Stef Daniel
One of the best decisions you can make is to prepare your body, mind, and spirit for pregnancy before conception. A great many people do not have this luxury and find themselves regretting glasses of wine or cigarettes that they may have exposed their baby to before they knew they were pregnant. One of the reasons getting ready for pregnancy is so important is because vital cell division takes from the point of conception throughout the first trimester. In fact, around the 10-week mark, your growing fetus will be making some critical changes that play a miraculous role in the long-term health and wellbeing of your baby.
The CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take a prenatal vitamin just in case they conceive. These will provide you with vitamins, nutrients, proteins, and minerals that help your baby develop early on. Perhaps the most important is Folic Acid. Most women do not intake enough folic acid until they are already pregnant. Not getting enough folic acid can be a risk factor for developing spina-bifida and other spinal cord disorders in your baby.
If you are thinking about conception, or not taking steps to avoid it (which are never a guarantee), you should start taking a prenatal vitamin. You should also flush your body with plenty of water each and every day. Avoiding alcohol, cigarette smoke, excess sugars, and caffeine are also important. If you smoke, quit before you become pregnant and give your body a few months to rid itself of the toxins posed by nicotine and tar. If people around you smoke, ask that they refrain from smoking in your presence, even before you actually conceive.
Another important aspect of preparing for pregnancy is getting your body in shape. Your baby has the healthiest chance at life if you are at an optimum weight when you conceive. Being overweight also increases your risk of developing gestational diabetes. In addition to that, cardiovascular health and muscle fitness will make your pregnancy and delivery easier on you. If you are in shape before you get pregnant, chances are you will gain less weight during pregnancy and have an easier time losing weight post partum. Your energy levels will remain high, and your body will be better equipped to handles the stressors of pregnancy. This can make a radical difference in how you feel while pregnant! Remember, you can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy.
Most mothers would also tell you that in your preparation for pregnancy, you should not overlook the needs of your mind and spirit. Live out some of your passions. Take that vacation you always dreamed about. Purchase something that you have been holding off on getting because it is expensive. Why? Once the baby comes, life as you know it will change. While most of these changes are for the better – some will leave you desperate for your old self. It is easier to sow some wild oats and spend some quality time with your spouse right now so that when baby comes you will not feel like anything in your life is missing.