Thursday, December 4, 2014

Preparing for Pregnancy

     So... who wants to be a Mama??? :D I know a whole lot of women who do! (and a very very small part of the population who don't - or don't anymore because they already have three bundles of joy and that is enough for their lifetime haha!). 
    But going back to those that do... we moms all know motherhood is no walk in the park. And it all starts with pregnancy. There are some of us who have it pretty easy - with barely there nausea (or none at all), no complications and hardly any back pain. But there are some of us (probably most of us) that experience what they call "morning sickness" which actually translates to "all day sickness", nausea, vomiting, back pains, heartburn, etc. All in the name of the precious little one that we've prayed for in our hearts! So we endure it all with blissful expectation until we see our prize! :)

     If you're planning a pregnancy, the following tips below might prove to be helpful to you (and I sure hope they will be!). And I wish you a wonderful journey into motherhood because it sure is an extra special experience that you won't forget ;)

Before Getting Pregnant

    Good preparation always yields good results. And this is true for pregnancy as well. A lot of things can change about our bodies during pregnancy, and it would be wise to get ready beforehand because you never know how it's going to be for you.
  
1. Eat Healthy - Although this advice has been tossed to everyone a gazillion million times whether pregnant or not, it's always good advice. I cannot stress how good eating habits before pregnancy helps a mom-to-be. Eating nutritious foods helps a mom stock up on the good and important stuff needed to nourish a baby in her tummy. We can take all the iron, calcium or folic acid supplements that we want but our body still absorbs these nutrients better through food intake. So go get those dark leafy vegetables, fruits and good quality meats (preferably grass-fed and organic!) into your system so you can have enough vitamins and minerals stored up especially during the first trimester where most of us barely have an appetite and some of us just want to throw up.

2. Exercise - Not enough time for exercise? Wait till your baby comes out!! haha! Then you'll have an even harder time to fit in this very important activity into your schedule (or you'll have to stretch out your creative muscles to do so - i.e. Use your baby as weights hehe). Preparing our bodies to carry the extra weight, have the stamina for childbirth and go back to pre-pregnancy form usually depends on how fit we were before the pregnancy. 

    Although I have to admit, my first pregnancy caught me off guard. I was exercising about 3-4x a week before getting pregnant with Audrey but was placed on bedrest for weeks due to spotting and premature contractions during my first and last trimester. And I wasn't really able to exercise much during my first pregnancy except for a bit in the second trimester and during full term. Nevertheless, I believe that all of the exercising I did years before pregnancy helped me endure labor prior to childbirth (I labored for 33 hours before ending up with a C-section) and helped me get back into shape without as much effort. (But let me tell you, a second baby will change the whole ball game haha! Especially if the gap is a bit close! So exercising to tone up again is definitely a good idea).

3. Consult your doctor - It's always wise to consult a professional before undertaking a major project. And in this case, the project is your baby and your pregnancy. Really major if you ask me! First and foremost, it's best to have yourself checked to see how your reproductive health is doing. 

     I remember having this checkup done weeks before my wedding, just to make sure I am healthy and have no underlying health issues, particularly in the reproductive department. And a couple of months before finally planning for a baby, I also had MMR shots which my doctor friends and own practitioner recommended to protect me from getting measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) during pregnancy. If you get rubella especially during your first trimester, there is a high chance for the fetus to have defects - and I didn't want to risk it, and you shouldn't either. I first had to do an immunity screening for rubella to see if the antibodies were still present from childhood vaccines - but my test showed I was negative so I went ahead and got the shot. Just note that you can't get pregnant until after 3 months from getting the vaccine so this definitely needs to be planned.
     Your doctor will also most likely recommend you to take folic acid supplements, which I also did but again, healthy eating is still the best way to go. 

4. Give up bad habits - This sounds like a tough order - and it is. If you are a smoker and/or drink alcohol, now is the best time to quit. We all know the ill effects of these habits on an unborn child so it's best to start focusing on healthier alternatives. And for us coffee drinkers (yup that's me), this is also a time to re-evaluate your caffeine intake. Too much of anything isn't good, especially during pregnancy. I personally had to give up coffee during pregnancy and it is possible! hehe.

5. See your dentist - Good oral hygiene leads to good health. A lot of diseases actually stem from unhealthy teeth and gum conditions, so it's wise to deal with any of these issues before pregnancy. Some oral procedures can't even be done while pregnant so it's best to be prepared beforehand and do any necessary treatments to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Just imagine, anything you swallow goes inside your body, so if there's disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, it will have easy access to you and your baby.


    And in case you're already on the way and expecting your little one, I also have a post just for that ;) Coming soon!

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