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Getting Ready to Get Pregnant

2 Jun 2015 – 03:59 PM EDT

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If you’re getting ready to get pregnant, congratulations! What a wonderfully exciting journey you’re about to embark on. There are so many things about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and raising kids that you simply cannot plan for, but when you’re planning to get pregnant, there are many things you can do to make sure you are ready physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Physically Preparing for Pregnancy

One of the best things you can do as a woman to physically prepare for pregnancy is to simply love your body. Love your body by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. According to the March of Dimes, you can reduce the risk of birth defects significantly by taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, even before you are pregnant.

Physically preparing for pregnancy is highly personal. For some women, it may mean losing weight to reduce risk, for others, it may mean consulting with a physician about underlying illness or chronic disease that might present issues during pregnancy. Prenatal care will be crucial too.

Emotionally Preparing for Pregnancy

Can you ever be emotionally prepared for pregnancy? I’m not sure. When I found out I was pregnant, it was a knee-buckling, wondrous shock. I had been told I would have to have fertility treatments because of my polycystic ovarian disease; instead, my husband and I returned from our honeymoon to discover we hadn’t needed anything but a lovely hotel with no phone and TV in Wengen, Switzerland. I was elated. And frightened. And I questioned myself endlessly about my ability to take care of a baby. The baby I reference is now 15 and taller than me. We did OK, and you will too.

When you’re getting ready to get pregnant, the emotional prep happens by being and staying close with your partner. Communicate with each other and share your worries, fears, and excitements. Agree together about when announcements will be made to friends and family and talk about whether or not you want to know the gender. It’s also a very good time to continue (or begin if you’re not in the habit) of taking me-time. A bubble bath, meditation, Yoga night, girls’ night – do what gives you those self-focused, energizing, I-still-matter-as-more-than-a-vessel-for-human-life moments. They will be crucial to continue throughout the pregnancy.

Mentally Preparing for Pregnancy

To mentally prepare for pregnancy, you need to be able to do one thing: learn to trust your own instincts. From the minute you mention to anyone (whether they have kids or not) that you’re thinking of getting pregnant, the opinions and horror stories will begin. You have to be able to listen with a smile, filter what you hear, and then do what is best for you, even if it differs with what friends, family, and strangers think you should do. Trust yourself.

Throughout your pregnancy, you’re going to have moments when you feel like it will last forever, but those nine months will be gone in a flash. It won’t be long before you have your baby in your arms. Savor every moment.