Before the Bump: 10 Ways to Ready Yourself for Pregnancy! (Part one)

Okay my lovelies, so let me just say here… as a woman and as a midwife I know this blog post is all about the ideals. I am totally aware of that, so if you were like 50% of our population and had an unplanned surprise pregnancy, then hey! Congrats and don’t stress. If you are in the other 50% and are planning your pregnancy, then I hope these are some helpful tips. As a midwife, my recommendation is always to seek professional help from a midwife, fertility specialist, GP etc. before falling pregnant. If you are interested in genetic testing (which I haven’t spoke about here) then seeing your GP for some direction is the first place to start.

Making the decision to have a baby is a big deal, like a HUGE deal, co-creatnig a human I mean WOW! There are so many exciting things to look forward to along the process! Making sure your ducks are in a row, so to speak, before actually trying to get pregnant is so important - and believe it or not, there are lots of things that might be an oversight that you should definitely participate in or do to ensure optimum health for both mind and body. This will help to bring your baby into the world as healthy as can be, and give you the best chance at a healthy and well pregnancy.

Obtain Blood-work to Ensure Healthy Nutrient Levels

Having blood work before actually trying to conceive will allow you to be aware of areas you may need to focus on, such as upping folic acid levels, which is essential to the healthy development of a fetus. Did you know that by having adequate folate / folic acid in your diet before conception you lower the chance significantly of neural tube and spinal defects of your baby? You may also want to opt for genetic screening to assess the risk your baby has of developing certain conditions or having certain developmental issues due to family history or age. 

Begin Taking Prenatal Vitamins 3 Months Before Trying

Before you even think about trying to conceive, one of the first things you should do is begin taking a good (organic) prenatal vitamin that includes iron, folic acid, B12, and the essential nutrients you will need to help that beautiful baby grow, and to also ensure you have enough of everything you need to make it through each day. The baby will receive the nutrients he or she needs regardless, but it will deplete your nutrient stores - which is why prenatal vitamins are so essential. It's also a good idea to take prenatal vitamins with food, as they may upset your stomach.

Iron is something the majority of pregnant women end up supplementing in pregnancy (in my experience as a midwife). Boosting your iron levels before you are pregnant can be a game changer for you and your babe, especially in relation to your energy levels. As your blood volumes increases dramatically in pregnancy, your hemoglobin (iron levels) drop lower. Hemoglobin is the red blood cells that carry oxygen to your tissues and baby so as you can imagine, it plays a very important role. Iron rich foods are the best way to increase your hemoglobin levels but you may also need to supplement them.

Exercise and Working Out

Beginning or maintaining an exercise regimen before and during pregnancy will ensure your body is in tip-top shape to house your baby. It will also be very helpful to ensure a healthy pregnancy all the while long. If you are not yet pregnant this is an awesome time to get fitter, stronger and to better understand your body.

Working out for 30 minutes per day HUGELY benefits you and baby, there is a lot of research on this, here is one study. These benefits include things like healthy weight gain, lower risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and perinatal depression. This transfers to the birth and recovery as well with less intervention in birth and women recovering quicker and easier.

Eat a Clean, Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy, wholesome diet is essential to obtaining optimal nutrition both before and during pregnancy. Omitting foods that are processed, sodium-filled, fatty and or fried, or that contain preservatives will be of the utmost importance. Sticking to fresh, raw when possible fruits and vegetables and eating pesticide-free in the form of organic whenever you are able will ensure the best nutrition possible. Getting adequate protein and fats is something you should strive for, whatever diet you eat. If you aren’t entirely sure what eating well for you means, get some help. See a health professional and get educated, there is no shame in asking for help.

Part two will be out on Wednesday night.

Beautiful photo by @victoriatornegren