If you’re considering parenthood or planning to get pregnant, you and your partner have lots of choices to make. To savor the experience and take care of yourself while you’re at it, consider these tips from Christy Kaplan, former labor and delivery nurse and now John Muir Health’s director of Women’s & Children’s Services.
- Consult your OB/GYN—ASAP – That way you’ll be prepared if you face any health risks, or if there are medical issues that need to be addressed before you conceive.
- Reduce stress – Consider taking a yoga class or starting a daily meditation practice.
- Practice good health – Your prepregnancy health regime should be a lot like your regular routine—with a few extras. Follow a nutritious diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, limit alcohol and caffeine, and stop smoking. Make sure you’re up-to-date on your immunizations and dental care. If you haven’t started already, start taking a prenatal vitamin over the counter or by prescription offered by your physician. A prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, a B complex vitamin, can assist with the healthy development of the fetus. Ask your physician which prenatal vitamin brands she recommends.
- Go with moderation – This isn't the time to start a crash diet or begin training for a marathon. If you don’t routinely exercise, you should start moving, Kaplan says, but start off slowly, and consult your physician.
- Communicate honestly with your partner – It's an essential part of good parenting—and never too soon to start. Discuss your expectations for child rearing, division of labor and child care. Try to resolve these and other issues before you become parents. Consider seeing a counselor if there are lingering differences.
- Live your life – Don't let conception become your sole focus. “Be with your family and friends, and enjoy yourself,” Kaplan says. This approach not only minimizes stress so you’re more likely to get pregnant, it makes the entire process a lot more fun!