Mind, Body and Spirit: Prepare for a Healthy Pregnancy

by Debbie Keene
(Nebraska, USA)

It is impossible to be completely prepared for all the emotional changes that come with getting pregnant, but a little forethought goes a long way. As a couple, consider how having a child will affect your relationship, work, social life, health and sense of self. Then look for ways to prepare emotionally, physically and mentally for the changes that are about to take place.

Create a Positive Frame of Mind

After deciding you are ready to start a family, try to eliminate unnecessary stress and negativity from your life. Trying to conceive, pregnancy and parenthood can be an emotional roller coaster. Having a positive perspective can help alleviate those strong emotions. Create a positive environment by surrounding yourself with supportive people. Start a journal to document thoughts and feelings. Post positive pregnancy-related notes around the house, in your car or at work. It's OK to feel scared, impatient or frustrated during the process, but aim toward maintaining an optimistic outlook.

Focus on Eating Right

Now is the time to abandon alcohol, quit using tobacco and drugs, cut back on caffeine and start eating like you would if you were carrying a child. Bring fresher, whole foods into your diet and avoid processed and packaged foods. When you're pregnant, your baby's growth will depend on the nutrients you intake. Choose foods high in fiber and folic acid, such as fruits and veggies, whole-grain breads, rice, dark green leafy vegetables and legumes. Consider taking a quality prenatal vitamin that ensures you're getting an adequate amount of iron, folate and other basic nutrients.

Know Your Body

Understanding your ovulation and menstrual cycle is key when trying to get pregnant. You are the most fertile 12 to 24 hours after ovulation, according to WomensHealth.gov, but because ovulation times can vary it can be difficult to keep track. There are several ways to predict ovulation, including testing your basal body temperature, using an ovulation calendar and monitoring your cervical mucus. Consider combining the three methods to better your chances of conceiving.

Stay Energized With Exercise

When you're pregnant, exercise will help keep your baby and body healthy, prepare you for childbirth and ease the aches and pains that come along with carrying a child. Before that, fitness is just as important. While trying to conceive, maintain a moderate level of physical activity. Among women who are trying to conceive, those who moderately exercise are more likely to be successful more quickly than those who exercise vigorously, according to a study found on FertStert.org. Presumably that happens because over-exercising can lead to amenorrhea, or the absence of periods, according to Web Md.

Build Your Relationship

The decision to have a baby starts a series of changes in your relationship. You agree to move forward and accept the emotions that come with TTC, the physical changes that come with pregnancy and the responsibilities (and rewards) that come with parenthood. While preparing for a healthy pregnancy, nurture your relationship with your partner. Take time to show each other appreciation, attention and support. Have sex when you're not ovulating. Enjoy topics other than fertility every once and awhile. Look for ways to serve each other, and make time to connect daily.

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