5 Things I Did Before I Got Pregnant

Two weeks ago in the Spring Edition of Trending Bytes, I shared my big news that my family is growing by one! It has been a busy and exciting time for my husband, Robert and I as we get ready for our baby girl to arrive this September. Overall, my pregnancy has been smooth sailing with a few bumps. I attribute this to the prep work I did before I got pregnant.

Note: Please keep in mind that this is my first pregnancy and I did not conduct any scientific studies or research, but regardless I have found that the anecdotal information I share below to something that others could benefit from. 

The Baby Bucket List – 

Awhile back I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before I got pregnant. Fun things, mostly but also life goals too. I took swim lessons, which I had wanted to do forever. I wanted to feel comfortable with my future children in the water. Robert and I went Ziplining in the Redwoods for his birthday. We took trips and tried out new hobbies. I took some classes for fun and my husband finished his degree. We moved to a new city. Both of us took the time to appreciate the time we had together before our lives became about caring for our children. I have many friends who have told me that their lives did not change that much after they had kids and they still have hobbies and other activities they enjoy. I know myself, which means that I will want to focus a majority of my time and energy on this new little baby and feel like I had lived life too. I had the luxury of time and I did not waste it. I have no regrets. 

Some things I am still working on are learning Spanish, sorting through and preserving childhood mementos, traveling both internationally and domestically, and figuring out how to have style (both in terms of my home, self, and everything in between).  Some of these things will take time, maybe many years but at least I whittled the list down a bit. 

Finances –

I did not know much of an adult I could feel like until the day my husband and I had the tough and honest conversation about our finances. Ugh. Talking about and frankly, money, in general, has been a stressful and often dishearting thing for me in the past. Like many couples, Robert and I approach money differently so sitting down and not only talking about but creating a plan has made a huge difference especially when we began to look at how having kids would affect our finances. 

Here is what we did: 

  • Created a budget AND stuck to it. Once we understood where our money was going it made it easier to see where we could cut back and save. This also gave us a common goal and we sit down every month to make adjustments and to look at what areas we need to focus on. This has really helped me because I do really well with structure and knowing I have x dollars for groceries, gas, hobbies etc. makes it easy for me to know what funds I have available. We use software called YNAB, but you could easily use an Excel document. Just needs to work for you and your household. 
  • Paid off our debt. School loans, credit cards, etc. 
  • Discussed if I would keep working and how that would impact us if I didn’t. We weighed out the cost of paying for childcare vs. me working. Then we started to live as though we were a one income family. 
  • Set Goals. When we looked at our finances Robert and I came up with goals for what to save for and where we needed to be cut corners. We created categories for savings (future house, baby fund, etc.) and categories for what needed to get paid off before we got pregnant. 

Got Healthy – 

When I got pregnant I was the healthiest I had ever been in my adult life. So was Robert. This was done on purpose because we are both in our mid-30’s and did not want to have a baby and feel like we were in our 50’s. Also, given my age, I fall into the “advanced maternal age” category (how do docs keep a straight face when they say that?! I crack a smile every time). This means that by default I am considered a high-risk pregnancy. I did not want to have any other complications, especially if they could be prevented. Here is what I think made a difference for my pre-pregnant health, which also helped my pregnant self. 

  • Doctor and Health Practioner Visits – From the dentists to doctors to seeing holistic practitioners I made my rounds. This helped give me the framework to know what exactly I needed to do to prepare my body for pregnancy. At the dentist I had fillings replaced and worked on my gum health. I saw both my OBGYN and PCP for screens, physicals, and other tests to make sure everything was fine. And to get their input on what I should start doing now. I saw holistic practitioners because I am a hippie. Ha! No, I went to them to give me another perspective about some health concerns I had.
  • Supplements and Prenatals – I started taking supplements a few years back to help support my overall health. I picked high-quality brands and worked with a nutritionist to help direct me on what I should be taking and why. About six months before I got pregnant I switched to Prenatal Vitamins. Robert also took supplements before hand too. I did not want either of us to be dealing any nutritional deficiencies during conception or pregnancy. I felt like I had enough changes going on during the first trimester that anything that could support my body I was willing to do.  Note: I understand not everyone is a fan of supplements and there are other options available. Always check with your doctor before you start taking any vitamins or supplements. 
  • I did my Research. For my particular health and life concerns, I did some research both online and in books. This helped me be prepared for my doctor’s visits and have a better understanding of what it would be like to be pregnant. I did not go overboard and tended to stay away from resources that did not have a similiar approach as me. 
  • Cleaned Up Diet and Kicked my Vices to the Curb – This the one area I believe made the biggest difference and took me the longest. Partly, this was due to I gained new knowledge that helped me to make the best choices for my health and partly because I am pretty clear I am a sugar addict. I worked with practitioners who helped cut out all added sugar (yes, even honey and dates) which was extreme and damn hard at times. I also discovered that I had an unhealthy dependence on caffeine, so I made the transition to water-processed decaf coffee because I really do like the taste of coffee and have not missed the caffeine kick. I ate mostly grain-free, healthy fats, and good quality meats because that’s what works for me. I felt great, had more energy, and even lost some weight that I needed to shed in order to reduce some pregnancy risks. In the first few months of pregnancy when it felt like my body was going all crazy, not having to deal with sugar and caffeine withdrawals on top of everything else was an added bonus. Everyone was vices are different and it is worth the time and effort to eliminate or minimize them. Note: If you are unsure where to start, consider consulting healthcare professionals and looking through pregnancy books to get more ideas. 

Priorities – 

Perhaps the word “priorities” is not the right word, but I took some time to think about what I wanted for my career and how that was going to fit into motherhood. As I mentioned before I knew I would be leaving my part-time job due to many factors including childcare. However, I also had to look at how blogging and nutritional consulting would continue as I was caring for a newborn. It took time, a lot of talking and thinking, and eventually, I had my answer. I would scale back my consulting practice to something I could manage and continue to make time to blog. It was not an easy decision and I knew it was right for me. 

My point is this, you made need to look at your own life and figure out is the most important aspects of it and what you want to keep doing even when you have children. Ask the tough questions. Talk to your partner and be really clear about what is important to you both. This can still be done once you are pregnant or trying, but as I discovered almost immediately my focus changed from worrying about myself to caring for the life growing inside me. And some things that seemed so important before were not anymore. Not that everything else in my life stopped, or I just forgot about responsibilities, I had shifted. What I thought about and did changed because I was ready for it too. I had done my work before hand so I was ready to have a new priority. 

Support System- 

If you have read any of my other blogs, then you know I am a big advocate of having a support system in life. Whether it is friends, family, professionals, therapists, mentors, or formal support groups I think that it is so important to have people to be by your side in life, especially that create healthy, safe, and non-judgemental relationships. 

When Robert and I started this whole process I let a few people know we were “trying.” I picked people I knew would be able to comfort me if things did not go as planned and could help me not take everything too seriously. While it was a relatively short period before I got pregnant, it was nice to have a support system in the early days of my pregnancy too. 

There you have my tips and thoughts on what I think made a difference in getting ready to be pregnant. What did you do? Got tip you must share? Post it below!

Heidi 

This blog is not sponsored. All products were purchased by Beansters Bytes LLC. All opinions are our own. We are not medical professionals; this blog is for entertainment purposes only.
I am a Nutritionist and Blogger who is not known for her plating of food or photo skills. I love to empower people to live the busy lives they have created, while being healthy, happy, and hopefully at their best every day.
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