A large part of the difficulty of pregnancy is adjusting to lifestyle changes at the same time that you are adjusting to pregnancy changes. If you are thinking of getting pregnant, you can make some changes now that will spare yourself some of the misery later, when your body is already dealing with the hormonal and physical challenges that come with pregnancy.
– Make exercise a part of your day now. If you are not a big exercise person, then this is the time to start. The exercise doesn’t have to be an intense cardio class; a daily walk and stretch will do fine. If you don’t live somewhere where walking outside is pleasant, consider a gym membership or treadmill. Exercising while you are not pregnant is an easier and safer habit to start now.
– Deal with eliminating caffeine and alcohol now. I love my wine, and I love my coffee. If you are used to drinking these beverages every day, it can be quite a shift to remove them from your diet. Phasing out the wine early on can be very helpful. Phasing out the coffee from caffeinated to decaf is also less painful when you have some time to do it slowly. I have heard people say their doctor has warned them against decaf because of the process of removing caffeine from a beverage. There are two main ways that companies get rid of caffeine (which is produced inside the bean during the plant’s growth process, just like with tea leaves). Caffeine is released in the first few seconds of brewing, so many companies use a hot water wash to decaf their beverages. I suspect that some of the “worry” is over decaf methods that use a solvent to get rid of the caffeine. It is extremely easy to find good coffee that is made into decaf using a water wash. All you have to do is turn the package around and you can see how the particular coffee is treated. No need to give up something that warms you up and makes you feel good for unfounded fears (there is no evidence, by the way, that the very common solvent that many coffee companies use has any impact on pregnancy either).
– Fix your diet now. If you have a hard time eating right, it is much, much easier to change your habits before you get pregnant. Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your stomach and your digestive system, so you want to have healthy habits in place as soon as you can. They say it takes two months to really change the way you eat, and you have to make those changes and enforce them every day. So make sure you start early! Remember, too, that pregnancy is not a time to reduce your caloric intake (or to truly “diet”). The diet here refers to what you eat, and what you eat should be low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and full of plenty of dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Yes, you read that right: dairy. It gets a bad rap sometimes, but in pregnancy, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D are your very good friends. Eat them!