Even before your baby is born, you are impacting their development! From what you eat and drink, to your own health; your baby's brain and body are influenced.
1st trimester is vital… From the early weeks of pregnancy, organs and systems are starting to form! At 6 weeks, your tiny embryo has developed the beginning stages of their head, heart, eyes, spine, arms and legs! It is amazing how quickly your child will develop in these magical 9 months and knowing that there are so many things you can do NOW to connect with them and impact their development is so exciting.
Preparing for Baby Before Conception
During pregnancy a woman's body goes through many changes. She will experience physical changes, alterations in hormones and moods, and start the process to a new life after the baby arrives. Keeping mom-to-be healthy is key to her own well-being but also her growing child.
Even before you conceive there are things that you can be doing to better prepare you and your body to create a healthy environment for baby. Talk with your doctor about your plans to conceive, depending on many factors, such as; age, weight, etc., your doctor will discuss your options to begin to prepare for pregnancy. If you partake in alcohol, nicotine products, and other drugs; it is suggested to avoid these substances; as many women do not know they are pregnant in those first few weeks. These substances may cause adverse harm to your child. If you have an issue with drugs or alcohol, seek help and talk to your doctor. Additionally, limiting your caffeine intake and managing a healthy weight are other healthy ways to prepare for baby.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, and/or have experienced loss, know that you are not alone. About 15-20% of women experience a miscarriage, and 12% of the US population experiences some form of infertility. It is important to talk to your doctor about your options, and seek support from others (counselors and/or support groups).
Staying Healthy While Pregnant
Once pregnant, keeping yourself healthy is the best bet for your baby's development. It is not just taking your vitamins; your health is also dependent on your emotional well-being, safety, nutrition and having support from those around you.
It is recommended that pregnant women intake 1,800 calories in the first trimester, 2,200 in their second trimester and 2,400 in the third (depending on weight of woman, and advice from doctor). A healthy balanced diet is also important to ensure that you are gaining enough vitamins and minerals to help support the baby and yourself. It is suggested that pregnant women eat 6-8 ounces of grains, 2-3cups of vegetables. 2 cups of fruits, 5-6 ounces of protein, 3 cups of dairy and drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, illicit substances and prescriptions/medications not recommended for pregnant women, is also important to your child's well-being. Check with your doctor if you have questions about what medications you can take while pregnant. Additionally, taking a prenatal vitamin will allow for you to intake nutrients that may not be found in your typical diet. Prenatal vitamins often include folic acid, a vitamin key to creating red blood cells and preventing neural tube defects. Some doctors will also prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain DHA, a component to promote healthy fetal development.
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. Even unborn babies can feel the stress that their mother's experience. Depending on the severity and duration of the stress; the effects may be correlated to a child's behavior and health later in life. Finding ways to manage stress is imperative to the health of your pregnancy. Many moms-to-be seek out positive stress-relieving activities such as exercise, journaling, meditation, attending support groups, seeing a counselor, and many more. Additionally, talking with trusted individuals such as your doctor, and/or friends and family, allows for you to build a network of support around you. Local mom groups and online forums can provide you with help and advice in a safe way. If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of depression, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Watch some of our favorite educational videos on pregnancy.
From conception to birth, take a unique look at fetal transformation during nine months in the womb.
Cristina Mutchler reports on how to maintain adequate nutrition during pregnancy.
Meditation Relax Music Channel presents a Relaxing Music Video with Amazing nature and Ambient Celtic Music for Meditation, Concentration and Balance, music therapy.
I'm Pregnant, what do I do now?
When should I visit my doctor?
When can I find out the sex of my baby?
What is healthy to eat?
Why take prenatal vitamins?
What exercise can I do?
What is gestational diabetes?
Who can I talk to when I am concerned?
What can I do now to connect with my baby?
How can I prepare for birth?
- Center for Disease Control - Utilizing this site, you can find information to promote a healthy pregnancy through pregnancy preparation, ways to stay healthy during pregnancy, and how to prepare for life after birth.
- American Pregnancy - From seeing your pregnancy week by week, to addressing your concerns and preparing for birth, this site provides you with tips and advice on all thing pregnancy!
- Fit Pregnancy - These quick 10 dos and don’ts of prenatal nutrition will give you a jump start to your healthy pregnancy habits!
- Beyond Blue - Learn more about emotional health and well-being and gain tips to managing stress and taking care of yourself during pregnancy and in early parenthood.
Dreaming of Your Baby
- Description: You can do this activity many different ways! Some include:
- Find a quiet room or put on some soothing music. Think of what your child may look like, imagine their face smiling, think about the first time you will hold them.
- You can also write a letter to your baby, that they can read years from now! You can write about your life in that moment, your hopes and dreams for them, or even a fun tradition you can't wait to share with them.
Keep a Pregnancy Journal
- Description: Keeping a pregnancy journal allows to look back over your pregnancy journey at many times! Later in pregnancy, when your baby is born and even years from now. Don't forget to include those crazy cravings!
Taking Care of Mama
- Description: You are growing another person, and is some cases more than that! You need to spend time taking care of you! If approved by the doctor, engage in light exercise such as prenatal yoga, stretching, and walking. Additionally, finding time to reduce stress is key. Often, moms-to-be find that guided meditation is relaxing and provides positive thoughts. The internet provides many free options for guided mediation during pregnancy.
Chasing Your Baby
- Description: A fun game that you can play with you baby! During an active time, your baby likes to wiggle and squirm. When your baby kicks or punches, lightly touch your stomach where they hit, and say out loud "Oh there you are!" When they move again, chase their movements and lightly touch again, say "I got you!" Continue as you feel comfortable.
Always Good Reminders
- Description: You have about 9 months to prepare for baby! But these fun activities can help you connect and destress. Other activities to keep in mind:
- Read Books to Your Bump
- Spend a day baby proofing the house
- Find Times to Celebrate with your partner, families or friends
- Talk with your Partner about roles and what you will both do with the baby comes
- Talk about concerns with a trusted individual
- Make sure you keep your Dr. Appts
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Listen to your body