Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

One of the happiest times of a person’s life is when they find out they are bringing a new life into the world.  There’s just something about knowing and feeling that little person as they grow and then getting to meet them as they make their grand entrance.  During the time of pregnancy, most women are at their healthiest– many quite drinking, smoking, take their multivitamins and really start to pay attention to what they eat.  While these are extremely important practices, it is equally important to prepare your body for pregnancy before you become pregnant.  Some common practices to prepare your body for a baby include getting to a healthy or normal weight, taking a folic acid supplement and taking care of any other pre-existing health conditions.

Getting to a Healthy Weight

A common practice among pregnant women is to eat any and everything they want while they are pregnant.  They would usually say, ‘I’m eating for two.’  However, contrary to popular belief, a pregnant woman only needs to eat about 300-400 extra calories during the second and third trimesters to promote optimal growth in her baby.  It is important to monitor the amount of weight you gain during your pregnancy because gaining too much can put you at risk of delivering an extremely large or preterm baby.  On the other hand, gaining too little weight can also but you and baby at risk.  So, aiming for a normal body weight before pregnancy is a good practice so that you help to ensure giving birth to a normal weight baby.  Additionally, you will only have to lose your pregnancy weight gain after the baby is born—that’s a plus.

Take supplemental folic acid

Folic acid is the synthetic form of the natural occurring B-vitamin—Folate.  Women who are pregnant or who wish to become pregnant are usually prescribed a Folic acid supplement because, among its many uses in the body, folic acid is used to help prevent miscarriages, neural tube defects and other birth defects such as spina bifida.  The natural occurring form, folate, can be found in many foods such as leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (such as bananas and melons) and citrus fruits.

Taking care of pre-existing health conditions

For many women, their pregnancies are happy times filled with lots of future plans, but for a few, pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and anemia can make pregnancies just a little bit difficult.  Getting to a healthy weight, exercising, making healthy food choices and working closely with your health care provider can help to decrease some of the effects of these conditions and allow you to have an enjoyable pregnancy.