Nutrition Info Just for You

November 13, 2019

Ready to Get Pregnant? 8 Tips to Help Plan Your Pregnancy

Are you ready to start preparing for pregnancy? Before you get into the fun part of trying to make a baby, it’s important to do a little prep work (and we’re not talking about lingerie). These eight pregnancy planning tips can help get you ready for a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Your Pregnancy Planning Checklist

1. Schedule a Pre-Pregnancy Checkup

First up in your pre-pregnancy planning? A trip to your doctor or OBGYN. Your doctor can help give you the guidance you need to have a healthy pregnancy. He or she may review your medical history, your family’s medical history, and any medications you’re taking. If you have a medical condition like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor also may want to refer you to a specialist.

Your doctor may also want to check your BMI (body mass index) because having a high or low BMI can have an impact on fertility or it could pose other risks during pregnancy. See more in tip #7 below.

2. Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Your doctor may recommend that you start consuming certain vitamins and minerals that help support fetal development or that you take a prenatal vitamin supplement. When you pop by your local store, check the supplement labels to find a formula that includes those recommended vitamins and minerals, which may include folate (or its synthetic version, folic acid), iodine, and omega-3 DHA.

According to the CDC, folic acid helps support a fetus’s spinal cord development. That’s why the CDC recommends taking folic acid throughout a woman’s childbearing years, and especially at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester.1 Always consult your OBGYN to find out exactly how much folic acid you personally need for your pregnancy.

vitafusion PreNatal and vitafusion Simply Good Prenatal gummies contain 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of folate, plus they contain iodine and omega-3 DHA. And since vitafusion PreNatal gummies are made without iron, they’re easy on your stomach during pregnancy.*

smiling female doctor white coat stethoscope with patient back preparing for pregnancy checklist vitafusion experience blog

3. Put the Kibosh on Unhealthy Habits

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but you probably already know that now is the time to quit any really unhealthy habits, like tobacco use and alcohol.

According to the CDC, smoking while pregnant is linked to miscarriage and premature birth.2 You may want to ask your partner to give up smoking too. According to a study published in Human Reproduction Update, secondhand smoke can reduce fertility.3

Although there are particularly harmful substances in cigarette smoke, you should stay away from all sources of nicotine during pregnancy, including vaping with e-cigarettes. Nicotine in any form can be a health danger for pregnant women and developing fetuses.2

Although there are many different opinions about drinking during pregnancy, the only truly safe amount of alcohol to drink when you’re expecting is zero.2 We know, we know. This advice is controversial. Not to mention, we know it’s annoying if, like most of us, you like to drink an occasional glass of wine or beer. But it’s best to be on the safe side!

If you have questions or want detailed guidance on how to have a healthier, happier pregnancy, consult your OBGYN. Your doctor can also help you quit any lingering unhealthy habits that you just can’t seem to kick during pregnancy.

4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Bad news, coffee lovers. According to a study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.4 That’s the equivalent of about two 6 oz. cups of coffee (or one 12 oz. “tall” coffee at a coffee shop).

If you drink more caffeine than this on a daily basis, start to cut down gradually. This will prepare you for pregnancy while avoiding the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (which aren’t pretty!).

5. Consider Your Diet

Do your best to resist foods like cookies and potato chips with empty carbs and calories. Now’s the time to stock your fridge with healthy goodies. Go for fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean proteins, and calcium-rich foods like yogurt and leafy greens.

Put down the sushi! You’ll want to avoid eating foods that put you at risk for foodborne illnesses like unpasteurized dairy and juices, deli meats and raw fish. Plus, during pregnancy, the FDA recommends not eating certain types of fish that are especially high in mercury, a metal that can be harmful to you and your fetus. The types of fish that are highest in mercury include marlin, shark, and swordfish. During pregnancy, the FDA recommends limiting the consumption of lower-mercury fish like salmon to no more than two or three times a week, and eating fish with a moderate amount of mercury, like halibut and snapper, no more than once a week.5

Tip: Because you’ll probably be cutting down on fish when you’re pregnant, you may be missing some crucial nutrients in your diet, including omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. DHA plays an important role in fetal development during pregnancy. If you’re looking to boost omega-3’s in your diet, ask your OBGYN about taking vitafusion PreNatal gummies or vitafusion Omega-3 gummies, which contain DHA.*

6. Crunch the Numbers

When it comes to the cost of raising a kid, it can be overwhelming to look too far into the future. A 2015 report by the USDA estimated that the total cost to raise a child from birth to age 17 in a middle-income home is over $280,000 when you factor in inflation.6 Yikes!

Now is the time to think about medical costs for the birth and any supplies you’ll need for a newborn. For example, in the U.S., delivering your baby without insurance can cost somewhere between $9,000 and $15,000.

If you have health insurance, call your insurance provider to find out what kind of prenatal care it offers. Ask which OBGYNs and pediatricians are in-network, and know the cost of your deductible. If your deductible is high or your coverage low, you may want to start saving your pennies now.

If you don’t have health insurance, reach out to your local health department to see what programs are available to you to help mitigate the cost of prenatal care and delivery.

woman running jogging exercising outside blue shirt black pants pink shoes preparing for pregnancy checklist vitafusion experience blog

7. A Weighty Issue

You know that none of us like to talk about our weight or body issues, but unfortunately we had to put this one on the list. Lots of women don’t not know that there’s a lot of evidence that obesity, which is defined as having a BMI of 30 and above, can increase the health risks for mom and baby during pregnancy.

If you think your BMI is in the obese range, you can help your risk factors by losing a little bit of weight before you get pregnant. ACOG reports that obese women who lose even 5-7% of their weight can have a healthier pregnancy.7

However, before you suddenly start a strict diet or a hard-core new exercise routine, talk to your OBGYN. He or she can help you figure out what your ideal healthy weight should be. If you do find that your BMI is a little too low or a little too high, ask your doc about adding some of the following quick tips to your routine to get a more optimal BMI for conception.

If your BMI is too high, ask your doctor if you should…

  • Increase your exercise to 30-60 minutes, three to five days per week. Be sure to choose an activity that you enjoy – anything that gets you moving and that your doctor says is OK!
  • Cut down on calorie-dense and processed foods with little nutritional value. That includes soda, candy, and potato chips.
  • Add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These are high-fiber, low-glycemic foods that will help you feel more full and keep your blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day to help control cravings and energy lows.

If your BMI is too low, ask your doctor if you should…

  • Add more healthy calories and fats to your diet. Think nuts, lean proteins, avocados, healthy oils, and dried fruits. These foods are nutritious but calorie-dense.
  • Eat small, healthy snacks between meals to help you get more calories throughout the day.

Don’t get us wrong, obese women can and do have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies all the time. But because weight and BMI seem to be such important factors in fertility, we just had to mention them here!

8. Find Out When You Ovulate

Now for the fun part! Maximize your chances of conception by finding out which days you’re most fertile. There are fertility apps for your phone that can calculate ovulation based on the date and length of your last period. By finding your most fertile days of the month, you can find the best nights for, ahem, “appointments” with your partner.

Remember, your doctor should be your first stop when you’re beginning to prepare for pregnancy. With their help, plus pre-pregnancy planning tips, you could be well on your way to conception!

We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Preventing Neural Tube Birth Defects: A Prevention Model and Resource Guide.” 2009.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Substance Use During Pregnancy. (www.cdc.gov)
3 Dechanet, C, et al; Hum Reprod Update. 2010.
4 Committee on Obstetric Practice, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Obstet Gynecol. 2010.
5 Food and Drug Administration, HHS. “Advice About Eating Fish, From the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration”; 2017. (www.federalregister.gov)
6 Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. (Rev 2017)
7 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obesity and Pregnancy. 2016. (www.acog.org)

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Published by Colleen Welsch

Colleen Welsch has been writing about women's nutrition, health, fitness, and the clean beauty industry for many years. Born and raised in Ohio, Colleen recently returned to the U.S. after spending a year in Spain. In her spare time, Colleen loves traveling and petting dogs.

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