With the near-future opening of the birth center and the opportunity to “Bring Birth Back!” to women in Georgia and surrounding states, women are beginning discussions about pre-conception planning. What an exciting movement it has become! Women are gearing up for the opportunity to strive for experiencing the birth they have always wanted. Regardless, a healthy baby and a healthy mother are the most important factors to remember on the day you give birth. But before you ponder the bells and whistles of the day you go into labor, let’s backtrack and talk about some things to consider that can assist you in becoming ready for conception.
Visit your provider
Hopefully, you will consider using Intown Midwifery for your well-woman, prenatal, and maternity care, but even if you aren’t, please consider visiting your provider 3-6 months before trying to conceive. You will be able to review medical history, family history, current concerns or illnesses, and even discuss fears and goals. It is never too early to begin research and conversations on the type of birth you imagine. It’ll help to boost your confidence and enable you to develop the trusting relationship with your provider early on. Certain topics may be more feasible during your visit depending on age, prior pregnancies, current medications, current method of birth control, etc. You will also be able to get your labs drawn to see if there are any existing issues that need to be attended to before you attempt to become pregnant. Your provider can best direct you on how and when to begin the “fun” of trying to conceive.
If there are habits you frequent, such as consuming high-saturated fat foods, caffeine, smoking, recreational drug use, excessive alcohol use, or even certain exercises, you may want to reconsider the magnitude in which you are taking part in these activities. Your provider may also suggest nutritional supplements that are important to have on board before conception such as 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Pre-conception nutrition and environmental habits are extremely important. How can this impact my ability to become pregnant? How can this have negative effects towards my baby once pregnant? Can this have an impact on my health? The positive changes you make now can help with healthy habits once you are pregnant. Eating healthy for two will be much easier and successful if you get a head start now.
Consider the emotional journey
When planning to expand your family, you may do so with joy and happiness of birthing a new life. But it is important to also consider any emotional concerns that may require healing before taking the next step. If you have experienced prior pregnancy complications, loss of a child, or negative experiences with former providers, this may be a great time to consider dealing with some of those emotions. After all, the pregnancy you are about to embark on is new and fresh and emotional well-being will be beneficial. You and your baby will deserve the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience without comparing it to past situations.
Weight Now or Weight Later
Okay, so many women are concerned about their weight, and rightfully so. Some women fear weight gain during pregnancy, others understand that it’s inevitable and will vow to lose it later. But what about weight concerns before pregnancy? When visiting your provider, it may be useful to ask for recommendations on how to deal with any current weight concerns or eating disorders that may be present. Not only is eating healthy important, but regular exercise and trying to conceive at a healthy weight can be beneficial during this period. Achieving a healthy weight has also been proven to contribute to achieving a healthy pregnancy. If you do have concerns of your current weight, they may only increase once you become pregnant. Taking time now to focus on becoming more comfortable in your body may prove beneficial to both you and the baby once you become pregnant.
I hope this has been useful to future moms who are reading. Please leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for pre-conception planning. Were there some other ideas that worked well for you that you’d like to recommend? We’d love to hear them. The Pre-conception Health website is a great resource for learning more about the benefits of the pre-conception time-frame. Happy planning!