Pregnancy is a journey. Sometimes your skin is glowing, doors are being held open for you, and you completely appreciate the little bundle of joy growing inside of you. Other times, you are in a constant state of nausea, your feet are swollen (and you can’t even see your feet over the bump), and the current state of sleeping on your left side (not your back, not your stomach, but the highly recommended left side) can be kind of a setback.
Like I said, it’s a journey, and it is quite hard to prepare for it. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start to prepare for your pregnancy in advance.
In fact, many doctors, including Sherry Ross, MD, advises woman to make changes six months prior to trying to get pregnant in order to create a healthy foundation for pregnancy.
With that being said, I decided to dig a little deeper and reach out to mom’s to find out how they prepared or wish they prepared, health wise of course, prior to pregnancy. The responses I got were so helpful. Let’s dive in.
1. Start taking your prenatal + DHA
Celebrity stylist and momma to two, Ali Levine, recommends taking your prenatal vitamins (including your DHA) prior to becoming pregnant.
“Do some research and find ones that don’t bother your stomach,” she advises. “There’s gummy vitamins, capsules, sour options, etc.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) actually support this claim as well and recommends that ALL woman who can potentially become pregnant, should take a daily supplement with folic acid (probably because per the CDC, 45 percent of pregnancies are unplanned in the US).
2. Eat healthy
Sophie Jaffe, a health and wellness expert, who is also certified as a raw food chef, strongly encourages women to create a loving environment within their own body for a baby to flourish in.
“Your hormones, stress levels, and internal body systems can affect whether a little one can take up home within you for nine months,” explains the yoga teacher and mom to three. “By prioritizing keeping your internal body in balance through the use of superfoods, adaptogens and whole, nutrient-dense meals, you’re creating a win-win for you, as mama, and your future baby. Make more colorful superfood smoothies and whip up your favorite salads and soups that make you smile. Spend time creating meals that will make you feel good and are full of so much love it’s an enjoyable experience just to eat.”
3. Do less
Yoga teacher and toddler mom Ayami Yamamichi urges woman to do less. And I have to agree. I added on so many unnecessary tasks into my routine prior to getting pregnant.
Ayami explains that when you are pregnant there is so much to do, take this time prior to slow down.
“Whatever you’re doing, try to do less. While it’s harder for us to want to do less – nursery decorating, pregnancy appointments, keeping up with our health, getting to that yoga class, reading all the books, traveling… – the best thing I did for myself was a lot of nothing. Inevitably that would lead to conscious decisions to better nourish myself like a long walk in nature, a luxurious bath, or a simple mid day nap in a quiet home.”
These options become a little tougher to navigate when you’re pregnant and become a mom.
4. Evaluate unhealthy relationships with friends and family
Mom blogger Candice Gottschall explains this perfectly.
“The relationships and support you have as a new mom, really makes all the difference. Start making more time for the people who support you most and distance yourself from those who don’t. Because once that baby comes, the last thing a new mamma needs is anyone making her feel less than awesome.”
Jaffe agrees and adds, “Energetic attachments and relationships create a major impact on how we use our energy throughout the day. Throughout Noa’s pregnancy, I released so many relationships and habits that left me depleted. There was no space for any of that in making a home for my babe. I really recommend for women trying to become pregnant to take stock of where their energy is going and create strong and healthy boundaries. Setting physical AND emotional boundaries is so crucial to a well-balanced soul. Nurture aspects of your life that bring you pure joy and release anything or anyone that drains you.”
5. Stay active
Every single mother I chatted with said the same thing. STAY ACTIVE. It is so important to stay active while you are pregnant, but it is even more important to start a workout regime prior to becoming pregnant.
Candice agrees, adding that future moms should “Walk, stretch, and exercise in any way that makes you feel good. You want to have a routine established before you get pregnant to make it easier to stay active once you’re actually pregnant.”
6. Check in with your mental health
Pregnancy is full of ups and downs, including a lot of hormonal changes. So it is so very important to make sure you are going into pregnancy in a positive mental state. Perhaps starting a journaling practice or meeting with a psychologist if you feel the need, is necessary to check in with yourself and whatever you may struggle with.
Taylor Walker Sinning, a former fitness model and current Barry’s Bootcamp trainer, said it best in her aSweatLife post, 5 Things No One Tells You About the Mental Side of Pregnancy: “Even the most confident women struggle with body image while pregnant.”
She also chats about the anxiety of pregnancy (moms tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure we are making the best decision possible for our babies) and perhaps feeling a little resentful. And while these things will be dealt with during pregnancy, getting a head start on your mental wellness is a great way to prepare.
7. Take that trip
There, I said it. The finance gurus are going to come for me. Because I know, I know, babies are expensive and you really need to save for that fancy uppababy stroller and bamboo crib. However, traveling with babies and little ones is HARD. Take it from a momma. And traveling while pregnant, albeit fun, isn’t the same. Take that trip that you’ve been thinking about prior to becoming pregnant. I PROMISE you’ll thank me later. It will be so good for your mind, body, and soul.