Pregnancy Preparation Tips
Once you decide you want to get pregnant, there is a lot of preparation to do. It can feel overwhelming, but the silver lining of a planned pregnancy is that it allows you the time to prepare your body, mind, home, and life for a tiny human’s arrival. There are many choices to make regarding how you handle those preparations—let’s start with your body.
PREPARE YOUR BODY
Before trying to conceive or starting fertility treatments, you want to do some essential body maintenance:
- Get a physical to make sure you’re healthy
- Have a dental checkup and cleaning (dental health can be very impactful to fetal health)
- Assess your fitness
Pregnancy isn’t a time to necessarily increase your fitness, but staying as active as you were before getting pregnant is recommended. Since pregnancy, labor, and delivery are so physically demanding, address any concerns or questions you may have with your doctor.
Taking prenatal vitamins, minimizing, or eliminating alcohol, and reducing intake of ultra-processed foods are all significant steps toward a healthy pregnancy. At the same time, incorporate nutrition-rich choices like fruit, vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins. If you’re motivated to optimize your diet for fertility, It Starts With the Egg is an excellent resource to understand how food and supplements can impact fertility (keep an eye out for our review on this book, coming soon!).
PREPARE YOUR MIND
Pregnancy brings a swirl of hormonal changes, which can mean big mood swings and a lot of emotions. If you’re doing fertility treatment, it’s probably no surprise to learn that it can be taxing—mind, body, and spirit. Even the most successful IVF stories include numerous procedures, medication that can affect your hormones, and a complex collection of hope, fear, and anticipation. To prepare for this, be intentional about your mental health and well-being as you prepare for pregnancy.
Talk therapy can be a great source of self-awareness and offer a safe space to process your experiences without worrying about anyone else’s reactions. There is also a wide range of support groups for fertility treatment, IVF, and infertility, some virtual, some live. Resolve, the National Infertility Association is a great place to start.
Self-care is critical during pregnancy—meaning you’ll need a lot of it, and the best time to start those practices is now. Where can you incorporate joyful or restorative movement into your days? How can you care for your body in a way that brings peace to your mind? Whether it’s an intense workout, a long bath, or a therapeutic massage, pay attention to what fills your cup. Then make space and time in your life for those things that bring you joy and fulfillment. Mindfulness can also be incredibly impactful—check out the Calm app if you don’t know where to start.
It’s never too early to learn about the pregnancy, labor, and delivery process (especially if this is your first baby). Reading books like Expecting Better and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth will give you a sense of what to expect and help you nurture a healthy pregnancy.
PREPARE YOUR LIFESTYLE
The other preparations that will make fertility treatments and pregnancy much smoother concern your life’s structures: your home, your finances, and your partnership and/or family relationships. Once your baby arrives, your bandwidth to tackle a home renovation, repair your credit, or deepen your connection with your partner will be pretty limited, so take the time now to consider what you’d like to put energy towards.
In terms of your home, is there a move on the horizon? Moving while pregnant is not a party, but moving with a newborn is much more complicated, so if you’re going to change homes, better to do so sooner than later if possible. If you’re already in your forever home, does it need any repairs or renovations to become baby friendly? Again, the sooner, the better. You can also do some fun nesting activities, like planning and designing your nursery, which will be much more pleasant than contemplating roof repairs.
Take the time to talk to your partner, if you have one, about your values and beliefs about how to raise a child. It might seem like you’ll figure it out as you go—and you will—but hard conversations are better had without time pressure after nights with limited sleep. Making decisions like what parenting style you align with can help develop a closer bond with your partner during pregnancy and provide a clear sense of who they want to be as a parent.
PREPARE FOR THE UNKNOWN
Preparing for pregnancy and/or fertility treatments is like preparing for a tropical storm—you know something is approaching. Still, even with so much modern science and medicine, you can’t accurately predict how difficult or impactful it might be. You might get pregnant with a simple cycle of IUI, or you might need five cycles of medication-heavy IVF where your body may respond well to medications, or you might feel physically awful for a time. Unknown factors beyond your control can make the journey seem challenging.
There are many other parts of the journey, like preparing your body, mind, and life for pregnancy, that you do have control over, so focus on those and stay in an action-based mindset. Remember – waiting is an art, and patience is a muscle you can grow with use.