There is a whole laundry list of things to do when you are trying to get pregnant–and your OB will hand you another folder of them when you visit. But what about PAL? How do you prepare for that??
I think the first thing to do is accept your emotions. No matter what time you start trying (right after loss, or father down the road), it is going to be emotional. I went thru a whole range of emotions and I waited a year and a half before I was willing to try again. Some emotions that PAL moms might experience are sadness, anxiety, anger, detachment, guilt, and fear.
Some moms find it helpful to have a “pre-conception” appointment with their OB. That way the couple can bring all their fears and/or concerns to the table and have them addressed by a medical professional. Any bloodwork or scans can be done at that time to reassure the couple. At that visit, couples can also ask for recommendations for therapists, Doulas, and any local pre-conception classes. This visit is a great time to talk about your risks for more miscarriages or stillbirths. Ask if this pregnancy will be considered “high-risk”, and if you need more bloodwork or more frequent check-ups. Don’t be afraid to write down all your questions and the answers. That way if you forget, you have something to look back at for a reference.
If you are TTC, it is also important to eat right, sleep, take vitamins and exercise. Not only will this make you feel better, but your body will be in the best shape possible for a baby. It can be a good idea to take up yoga or meditation to help with your stress level. Make sure you start taking a prenatal vitamin to build up all the levels in your body. Exercise is great for weight management, cardiovascular health, and can help with any depression you may be feeling. As for eating right, stock your diet with protein, fruits/veggies, and whole grains. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well! Sleep is also very important, so if you are having trouble, talk to your doctor to find a pregnancy safe sleep supplement.
Start cutting out unhealthy/not-allowed-during-pregnancy habits as well. Get a head start on smoking cessation, stop drinking alcohol, and start to limit your caffeine. Talk to your doctor about what medications are safe for pregnancy, and which ones you cannot take. This is always best to do in advance in case you have to try alternatives. Always easier to find out now that you don’t tolerate a certain substitution then when you are out of time because you are pregnant. This is especially important with mental health medications–not something you want to be changing overnight.
Let’s be honest though ladies. No matter how much we try to prepare we will never have it as easy as those first time moms. The ones who never have been touched by sadness or fear, or even think of the possibility that after 9 months of this hard work, there will be no baby to hold. PAL’s, do what you need to do to get through and enjoy this pregnancy. Remember your mantra! “Today my mind will focus on hope over fear”
TTC day 7. I have been kinda of irritable and frustrated over the past few days, I’m wondering if it has anything to do with my hormones now that I am off birth control and past shark week #1. I also had a anxiety attack last night that got bad enough I took a Xanax. Whatever the reason, I am hoping it goes away soon.
Excitement meter: 5
Scared Shit-less meter:2