Getting your body ready is crucial and goes a little bit beyond the obvious ones you’ve probably heard about like; cut down on alcohol, cut down on caffeine, put down the crack pipe (okay no but seriously if you are doing anything harmful to your body stop it right now), don’t use artificial sweeteners, etc. For example, (page out of my own book here) have you had your wisdom teeth out? What’s the status of your dental health? Stop drop and make an appointment to get your teeth and gums checked out. Pregnancy lasts for a while and you do not want to need any dental work during that time so get it done now! I had to have my wisdom teeth removed which requires taking lot’s of drugs so I booked my surgery well before TTC so that I would have time to heal and the yucky drugs would be out of my system. It’s not just the dentist you need to see but your gynecologist as well. I suggest getting a check up and blood work to check and make sure mom to be is in perfect health before TTC. If there are any issues you want time to try to address them before you TTC. Going to your gynecologist is crucial. You should have a pap smear and make sure you get a clean bill of health “down there” before you press go.
The next part of getting your body ready is to look at your eating habits, your weight and your fitness level. There’s something very important to address before we get into this part. That is, every woman is different and should only compare themselves to themselves. Don’t compare yourself to your best friend, that celebrity you’re sort of obsessed with or even your mom or me. You are unique and your journey is your own. Your body is one of a kind and you know it better than anyone else. You know how it handles foods and what exercises it prefers. So that said, it’s time to check in with you. Are you at a healthy weight? Do you eat a balanced and healthy diet? Do you drink mostly water or do you drink sodas? Do you try to eat an organic diet? Do you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables? And the big one…do you exercise and how often? What kind of cardiovascular shape are you in? I’m not going to tell you exactly how you should eat or work out or what you should weigh, only that you do need to do some self-evaluation about all of these things before TTC. If some changes need to be made then give yourself TIME to make the changes before you go for it.
What I chose to do:
I mentioned I got my wisdom teeth pulled and saw the dentist, the gynecologist and got a full blood work panel done including a full Thyroid check because I have a Thyroid issue.
Note on Thyroid: If you are like me and have a thyroid issue make SURE to get your levels checked before you TTC and do not TTC until you get your numbers in a good range. When you are TTC you run the risk of not being able to get pregnant or if you do get pregnant, not being able to keep the pregnancy going if you are Hyper or Hypo Thyroid. Once you are pregnant, the OB will monitor your Thyroid levels very carefully as they can shift a lot due to the surge of hormones. It is possible that your Thyroid medication may need to be tweaked here or there during pregnancy for the safety of the baby.
Once I did my self-evaluation of health, I started to sloooooowly making some changes. Slow is key ladies; if you ease into changes, they won’t be such a big deal. For example, I love coffee. My body seems to feel like it “needs” coffee to get going in the morning. So, I took this one slow. I cut down from 3 to 2 cups then 2 to 1 cup over the period of about 4 months. My body never went into shock and it didn’t feel like I was depriving it of something it loves.
As far as eating goes, I’m an extremely healthy, organic, balanced eater and cook as is. I have always loved eating healthy and constantly finding new and fun ways to cook and enjoy healthy food. I eat a ton of fruit and veggies (lot’s of good greens on that list) and choose to drink water (sometimes with lemon) all day long vs. anything else. (Although I did like iced tea and that had to go along with my coffee). On this front I just chose to continue eating as I do but one major change I made was to allow myself to cheat a little more and not stress about it. Now you might be thinking…Sarah, seriously? That’s your big food change? I know it sounds silly and even annoying, but the truth is; in preparing to be pregnant you need to start to re-wire your brain. When you are pregnant you will not be trying to stay slim or loose weight or be obsessing over eating perfectly to stay at a certain weight or in those favorite skinny jeans of yours. Nope that whole neurotic mess we put ourselves through daily (come on we all do it) will need to go out the window for 9-10 months plus however long you choose to breastfeed (if you choose to). So…yep! I decided to chill the f-out on myself and if I felt like some ice cream or popcorn or indulging in a piece of bread dipped in olive oil before dinner, I would! Other than that…chef Sarah kept it about the same.
My fitness level was in pretty good standing but I made a deal with myself when we moved to Seattle in July (and I started on this process). The deal was that I was going to work hard to get my body as strong as I could (with in reason, ladies you can’t get pregnant with zero body fat) to hopefully house a growing human the best I could! Important areas I chose to try to work on were back and core strength (to carry all that extra weight around in front of me one day I was going to need it)! So I signed up at this amazing Pilates studio I discovered (LAB5 Fitness) on Broadway in Seattle owned by this sweet couple). The studio is a few blocks walking from my apt and they have amazing reformer classes with awesome instructors. Also, my hubby and I invested in our family health by purchasing an elliptical machine for our home. This way no matter what the weather is outside or what time it is (not limited by a gym) we could get our cardio in. So, I decided to get my tush moving and in just a couple of months I was shocked at the transformation. My body was more “ripped” than it’d been in years plus I was in a great place with my stamina on my cardio (this is VERY important while pregnant).
Like with all new habits sometimes we get a little extreme. I will note that my husband did pull me aside one day and ask me to chill out my working out just a bit because he was concerned I was over-doing it and we wouldn’t be able to conceive because of it. (He’s a physician and was speaking from a knowledgeable place and also a loving one). I listened and I chilled out a bit, which didn’t even show on my body at all, but I knew he was right. It’s not about killing yourself it’s about preparing your body for something truly special.
Folic Acid/Prenatal Vitamins:
Taking Folic Acid is one of the most important things you can do before TTC. Ideally you’ll give yourself about 3 month on it before you TTC. You can also start taking prenatal vitamins (which should contain folic acid) if you want to but you don’t have to. Just so long as you get your folic acid in.
The skinny on Folic Acid is this: (Note: Check with your doctor before taking anything, always).
Folic acid is a pregnancy superhero! Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 800 (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Folic acid, which is also called folate, is a B vitamin. Folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby’s neural tube develop into his/her brain and spinal cord. Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folic acid in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.