Your life is going to change when you get pregnant, that is a fact. So being of the preventative mindset, I believe it is best to be as prepared as you can be, prior to doing the deed. Here are a few tips to get you thinking about what you can do to ensure a healthy home for your baby (and by home I mean both your house and the baby’s home, your uterus!). This way you wont be in shock when you discover you are pregnant and need to start making changes ASAP, nor will you feel guilty about ‘bad’ things you had done before you found out you were pregnant. Plus you will feel so good about being organized and taking responsibility for the health of your little one so early on.
Before You Get Pregnant: Switch to organics.
Moms to be – unfortunately you can literally dump toxins from your body to your sweet innocent little baby (sad but true). Eating organic is one way to decrease the potential for toxicity in your body. Pesticides, herbicides and fungicide, believe it or not, are not your baby’s preferred sources of fuel. Besides, many are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and hard on baby’s underdeveloped detoxification system. These toxins are relatively new in the grand scheme of things, so it is best to build your baby based on what people have been using for hundreds of thousands of years – pure, clean, organic, whole food. To avoid the most toxins, make sure all animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) come from an organic source, and don’t forget the dirty dozen (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/).
Before You Get Pregnant: Detoxify your house.
Yup, clean out the crap! Get rid of all those toxic chemical body products, perfumes, and cleaners. If babies are in your distant future, use up what you have and then replace with eco & organic products. If you want to start thinking about babies now, then toss it sister! You are most definitely not going to want to be breathing this stuff in when you start sharing your every breath with the precious life inside of you.
Before You Get Pregnant: Achieve a healthy body weight.
Ugh, why bother losing weight BEFORE I gain 35 pounds during pregnancy? Well, because having a healthy body weight is a really important part of being healthy. Plus you are going to need to need a ton of energy, both for pregnancy and when the time comes to chase a little one all over the house. Also, if you are too thin or overweight, you may have trouble conceiving. Best to achieve your healthiest self before the little ones start to steal all your nutrients. Achieving a healthy body weight means both developing a regular exercise routine and eating a healthy diet.
Before You Get Pregnant: Kick your bad habits.
You are going to have to give them up when you see that positive pregnancy test anyways…why not start weaning yourself off now? Fertility experts say the best way to get pregnant is to act pregnant. So, limit both your caffeine and alcohol consumption, or better yet, kick the habit altogether. If you smoke, quit.
Before You Get Pregnant: Start taking a prenatal vitamin.
Perhaps it will seem easier if I refer to the prenatal as a “multi-vitamin” that is basically all it is. The first 4 weeks, when you usually don’t know you are pregnant yet, are the most important for supplementing with folic acid. So if you think you are anywhere near trying to start your family, get a good quality prenatal from your favorite nutritionist, health foods store, or Naturopathic Doctor.
Perhaps you are thinking it may seem like a lot to take on now, but just think how easy the transition will be when you actually conceive. You’ll be a pro! Happy baby making!
Samantha (B.Comm, CNP, ROHP) is a registered holistic nutritionist with a passion for women’s health, especially from pre-pregnancy through to early motherhood. She does one on one nutrition counselling through her business, nu roots nutrition.