Prep your body for pregnancy
You’ve decided that it’s time to have a baby! Congratulations, your family is about to grow. But before your family grows in numbers, your body will be doing a ton of growing and changing during your pregnancy. These tips will help get your body and mind ready for the changes to come.
Pre-pregnancy to-do checklist
Here is a simple, easy to follow to-do list of actions to take before you begin the journey of trying to conceive and pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins and folic acid
Begin taking folic acid supplements on a daily basis before becoming pregnant. The current recommended daily intake amount of folic acid for women who are not pregnant is 400 mcg. The Centers for Disease Control suggests that women begin taking folic acid one month before trying to conceive to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects by up to 70 percent. Once pregnant, the recommended daily dose increases to 600 to 800 mcg, but always check with your doctor to see what the recommended dose is for your body based on your health and family history.
Start taking prenatal vitamins at the same time you begin taking your folic acid supplements -- at least a month before trying to conceive. Or check your prenatal vitamins to make sure they contain the recommended daily amount of folic acid.
Well check visits
Catch up on all your doctor's appointments -- including dental. Make sure your shots are current, your health is in good standing and your teeth are not in need of any immediate care. While preventative dental cleanings and exams are safe during pregnancy, increased pregnancy hormones can increase irritation to your gums – causing them to bleed and swell. Taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of pregnancy, as gum disease has been linked to preterm birth.
Check your medicine
Consult your doctor about any over-the-counter medication, prescription medications, herbs and/or supplements that you are currently taking. Many over-the-counter medications, herbs, supplements and prescription medications are not considered safe for pregnancy, but your doctor can help provide you with alternatives that are safe.