Best Way to Prepare for Your Pregnancy

Your health care provider may provide you with some instructions on how to pre­pare for your pregnancy.

  • Eliminate poor habits. Your preconceptual health care provider will offer you a weight loss program if you’re overweight or may offer you other programs to help you stop smoking or using alco­hol or illegal substances, and will offer suggestions for alleviat­ing stress. You will be asked to discontinue any medications that are not approved by your health care provider, including prescription acne medication, medication for psoriasis, or any products containing herbs. Ask about what you can take for headaches and other minor aches and pains. Nonsteroidal anti­inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) are under research and are considered something to avoid when planning to conceive or in the first trimester.
Pregnancy Best Way to Prepare for Your Pregnancy
  • Eat a healthy diet high in protein, calcium, and iron, and make sure you drink six glasses of water every day. Eating foods high in vitamin C helps with cell development and with absorbing other nutrients.
  • Take folic acid and prenatal vitamins. Your health care provider will prescribe a vitamin specially formulated for pregnancy. The prenatal vitamin includes folic acid. Your health care provider may also want you to take an extra folic acid supplement.
  • Start an exercise program. Most health care professionals in the “baby business” strongly advocate exercise before and during pregnancy. Suggested kinds of exercise are swimming, water aer­obics, yoga, and walking. Folic acid is a synthetic B vitamin also called folate in its natural form. It is important to have an adequate amount of folic acid in your body before you conceive because it’s needed soon after conception to form the neural tubes of your developing baby. When these tubes don’t form properly, there are “neural tube defects,” more commonly known as spina bifida, or anencephaly. Realizing the importance of folic acid in women’s diets, in 1992 the FDA began requiring that folic acid be added to products such as breads, cereals, and other grain products. Folic acid or folate is also found naturally in leafy vegetables, beans (legumes), citrus fruits, and whole grains.
  • Think about preferences in your prenatal care and baby’s deliv­ery. You might not think that you have preferences or be aware that you have options. In fact you have several choices in pro­fessional prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care. Your health care provider may ask you to start thinking about the kind of delivery you’d like to have.

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