Preparing for Pregnancy

Ideally, you should start preparing yourself for pregnancy for about 3 to 4 months before you actually try to conceive.  This is the time to get your body ready for the pregnancy so that when you do get pregnant your body is in its optimum shape.  Being prepared beforehand improves the odds of a normal and health pregnancy and delivery.  This “pre-pregnancy” approach to a healthy child is based on the fact that a fetus starts to form in the early weeks of pregnancy–often before a woman even realizes that she has conceived.  Your physical and nutritional well being will impact the very early growth of the embryo, perhaps before you even know you’re pregnant, and will be a critical determinant of pregnancy outcome.

Conceiving:

The key to getting pregnant is understanding how your monthly ovulation cycle works, so you can better determine when you’re most likely to conceive and can schedule intercourse around that time.  The length of time for getting pregnant varies for couples naturally.  Normally fertile couples have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle, and a cumulative pregnancy rate of 85 percent over the course of one year.  Still, it can even take longer than a year for some healthy couples to get pregnant.

Pregnancy FAQ

Nutrition before getting pregnant (See Chart):

Eating right before you become pregnant can help ensure that you and your baby start out with the nutrients you both need.  The first step towards healthy eating is to evaluate the foods in your daily diet.  This is a good time to drop the poor eating habits like chips, soda and chocolate bars and substitute healthy foods such as fruit, yogurt and raw vegetables.  Also you need to include a multivitamin in your diet to make sure that you will get the recommended 0.4-0.8 mg of folic acid daily.  Folic acid stored in your body has taken on new importance for woman who wish to become pregnant.  Recent studies find that folic acid may help to prevent certain birth defects, called neural tube defects. More…

You will need to follow a balanced, healthy diet to make sure that you get the proper nutrition needed for your baby to grow normally. A balanced, healthy diet means you consume a variety of types of foods that contain an adequate supply of essential nutrients, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. To determine whether your diet is balanced, you need to analyze everything you eat to see whether each food item provides the recommended amounts of each nutrient. The easiest way is to use the concept of food groups.

The five basic food groups are (1) bread, cereal, rice, and pasta, (2) vegetables, (3) fruits, (4) milk, yogurt, and cheese, and (5) meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. The fruit and vegetable groups supply us with vitamins A and C and some minerals, carbohydrates, and fiber. Foods in the grain group provide B vitamins, iron, fiber, and carbohydrates. The milk group gives us calcium, protein, and vitamin B2. The meat group supplies protein, niacin, thiamine, and iron.
The recommended daily servings from each group for women who are not pregnant women are: 6-11 servings from the bread/cereal group ; 3-5 servings from the vegetable group ; 2-4 servings from the fruit group; 2-3 servings from the milk group; 2-3 servings from the meat/beans group. Fats, oils, and sweets are to be used sparingly. During pregnancy, you’ll need to increase servings from the milk group to 4 and servings from the meat group to 3. Variety helps to ensure that you’re getting all the necessary nutrients, so try not to eat the same food from each group every day. Serving sizes are also very important. You need to know what is the normal size for a serving of milk or meat for example. See our chart for proper servings sizes in each food group.

Pregnancy Trimesters

Exercise before getting pregnant:

It is good to be active when you are trying to conceive. Being in shape and healthy before the pregnancy starts will make the pregnancy much easier.  If you do not have a regular exercise program, a regular walking program is a good thing to start.  Check with your doctor to find out what is the best exercise for you.