THE TEA | JULY 2023
Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy: A Guide for Nurturing Your Reproductive Health
By Dr. Leticia Jones, MD
As an OB/GYN and a mom, I understand the mix of excitement, nerves, and empowerment that comes with preparing your body for pregnancy. It’s a transformative journey that begins with taking control of your health and making informed choices.
There’s one question I get often: “What’s the best way to prepare my body for pregnancy?” If you’ve been wondering about this, you’re not alone. From my many years as a doctor and a mom, I can tell you that the secret to a healthy pregnancy is having a healthy body. So, that’s what I’m going to focus on in this month’s issue of The Tea.
Lifestyle Factors: Nurturing Your Body
First things first, let’s talk about lifestyle factors that can have a significant impact on your journey to pregnancy. A healthy body sets the stage for a healthy pregnancy, and eating a balanced and nutritious diet is critical. Add plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to your meals. Remember: small changes add up over time.
Substance use is another critical aspect to consider when preparing your body for pregnancy. Quitting tobacco, nicotine products, and recreational drugs is essential for both partners. It’s best to avoid them altogether. As for alcohol, I recommend limiting consumption and avoiding binge drinking during your days of preparation.
Addressing Concerns and Encouragement: You're Not Alone
Pregnancy is a beautifully complex process, and it’s essential to have realistic expectations. Conception may not happen immediately, and that’s okay! On average, it can take up to a year for couples to conceive. If you’re 35 or older, give it around six months before seeking support. Factors such as family history and individual reproductive potential play a role, so don’t be discouraged.
Building a solid relationship with your healthcare provider is paramount. Regular visits and open discussions will help them offer tailored guidance and help you along the way. Remember, they are there to support you.
Lastly, let’s discuss the significance of family history. While conditions like endometriosis can impact fertility, for the most part, family history doesn’t directly affect you while preparing your body for pregnancy. Advanced technology and medical advancements provide us with more options and opportunities than ever before. Consider scheduling a preconception counseling appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your options.
Lifestyle Factors: Nurturing Your Body
Feeling scared, uncertain, or discouraged along the way is normal. The most important thing is to voice your concerns and advocate for yourself. Trust your intuition, and don’t hesitate to share your worries with your healthcare provider. Together, you can find solutions and create a plan that supports your goals.
When it comes to fertility, the abundance of information can feel overwhelming. However, it’s important to remember that what worked for someone else may not necessarily work for you, so try to trust the process and avoid comparing yourself to others. While staying informed is a good idea, be cautious about relying solely on social media. Your healthcare provider is the best source of personalized guidance to navigate your own fertility journey.
Your emotional well-being also plays a crucial role in preparing your body for pregnancy. If you’re dealing with depression or anxiety, know that most medications are safe during pregnancy. Consult with your healthcare provider to find the best solution for you. Prioritize self-care, and if needed, seek therapy. There is strength in reaching out for support, especially during this transitional time.
In Conclusion: Trust Yourself and Your Journey
Preparing your body for pregnancy is a deeply personal and empowering process. Trust yourself and the choices you make. Stay informed, seek guidance from your healthcare provider, and nurture your body and mind. Remember, you are the captain of this ship, and your journey will be as unique and beautiful as you are.
This is an exciting time, and I’m happy to help guide you. Remember, every woman’s experience with becoming a mother is different, so embrace your own, be patient, stay informed, and most importantly, enjoy every moment. Motherhood is truly a miracle.
With much love and support,
Dr. Leticia Jones
About the author: Dr. Leticia Jones is a board-certified OB/GYN and practices at the Central Clinic for Women. Dr. Jones attended medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and completed her residency training at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she was chief administrative resident her senior year. After completing residency, she returned to Arkansas in 2010 to be closer to family. She also was a recipient of a resident teaching award four years in a row, as well as peer-reviewed awards for her research on dyspareunia.
Dr. Jones enjoys providing health care to women from adolescence through menopause. She takes pride in providing exceptional obstetric and gynecologic care. She is skilled in minimally invasive and vaginal surgery, allowing women to have procedures with shorter recovery times. She enjoys her active practice, where patients are treated like family.
Dr. Jones is the second oldest of 10 children and has a host of nieces and nephews. Her hobbies include singing, reading, spending time with her family watching basketball and traveling. She is happily married to David Jones, an attorney, and they have three children, twins Austin and Alexis and the youngest, Ashely.