Starting a family is always a big step. Both your pregnancy and the first few months after birth represent a massive change in your life. And with the birth rate rising to 3.66 million births compared to 3.61 million the previous year, you would certainly not be alone.
But having that first child means taking certain steps to prepare for your pregnancy. To help you prepare, let’s look at the changes that you can expect during pregnancy, and how to be ready for them as much as possible.
If you live in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, Dr. Staci McHale and her award-winning medical team at New Beginnings OB-GYN can help you through your pregnancy and labor, whether you’re having your first child or are welcoming another bundle of joy into the world.
Changes to expect when you get pregnant
During puberty, your body undergoes physical and hormonal changes that prime it for future pregnancies. When you actually get pregnant, there are even more changes to expect.
Your endocrine system increases your hormone levels, leading to milk production, increased flexibility in your joints, and other changes
Your taste and smell change dramatically, leading to food cravings, changes in the foods you like, and an increased sense of smell
Weight gain during pregnancy is obvious, but you also experience water retention in the form of swollen hands, feet, and ankles
Blood volume increases quite a bit to compensate for the life you’re gestating, which also puts extra work on your kidneys and urinary system
The hormonal changes that cause food cravings also cause nausea, vomiting, and slowed digestive processes
Your breasts, cervix, and uterus are all undergoing changes as your body prepares to bring life into the world
How to prepare for your pregnancy
If you’re actively trying for a baby, here are some simple steps you can take to get ready:
1. Keep a healthy weight
Weight changes during pregnancy are normal and expected, but how much you weigh beforehand can influence ovulation and other fertility issues. Being outside a healthy weight, whether you’re underweight or overweight, can affect your menstrual cycle and make getting pregnant harder.
2. Make healthier food choices
Staying healthy also means a healthier diet for you and the baby. Foods like dairy products, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help promote the proper function of your reproductive system. A diet with plenty of folic acid, calcium, and prenatal vitamins helps a great deal in maintaining good health during pregnancy.
3. Get more exercise
If you don’t normally exercise a lot, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week (with some strength training) can help your labor and delivery. On the other hand, if you’re at a normal weight for your age and height, intense exercise can actually make you struggle to conceive, so it’s important to find a balance.
4. Reduce unhealthy lifestyle choices
Healthy changes such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake can make a big difference for both your health and your child’s health during pregnancy. Making the changes before you get pregnant can help with conception and lead to a healthier pregnancy.
There are plenty of other changes you can make, but this is a good place to start on your road to a happy, healthy baby and a safe pregnancy. When you’re ready to take those first steps to prepare for a child, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN to get guidance and other help.