(ARA) - Once you and your partner have made the big decision to start expanding your family, whether in the next few months or years, thinking about how to prepare can be a little overwhelming. Don't worry! Some simple steps and an optimistic attitude can help pave the way for a healthy pregnancy.
Rosie Pope, co-founder of Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep, is expecting her third child this May, her first girl. The Bravo "Pregnant in Heels" star has plenty of helpful tips for women who are trying to conceive or may start trying soon.
1. Take prenatal vitamins before you're pregnant
It's important to take prenatal vitamins if planning to get pregnant in the next few months or even in the next few years. "Most women don't start taking them until they become pregnant, at which point a lot of the benefits from nutrients, such as folic acid, won't be as effective," says Rosie. "If you're even thinking about having a baby, talk to your doctor so you can start taking prenatal vitamins before you even start trying to have a baby."
2. Know your cycle
Understanding your body and its cycle can help you have more control in the baby-making process and eliminate some of the frustration many women experience when they don't get pregnant as quickly as they thought they would. A recent poll conducted by Clearblue and ModernMom.com showed that one in four women surveyed don't know when they're ovulating, which means they may be trying to get pregnant during the wrong days of their cycles. The Clearblue One-Month Supply Digital Ovulation Test helps identify the two best days to get pregnant and the Clearblue Fertility Monitor typically identifies up to six fertile days. These tools can help maximize the chances of getting pregnant
3. Take an accurate and easy to use test
The Clearblue and ModernMom.com poll also found that four out of five women surveyed say "accuracy" is the most important factor when selecting a pregnancy test. When compared to a laboratory reference method, Clearblue PLUS Pregnancy Test has been shown to be more than 99 percent accurate from the day of the expected period when using urine samples supplied for pregnancy testing. Its design has a longer ergonomically shaped stick for better grip and a wider tip for easy use. It is sensitive enough to be used up to five days sooner than waiting until a missed period.
"A positive result means you've received the greatest gift of all," says Rosie, who held on to her Clearblue positive pregnancy test as a memento.
4. Call your doctor
Once you receive a positive result on a home pregnancy test, call your doctor and schedule a visit. This is important because your doctor can give you a full exam, confirm the pregnancy, and help you understand what to expect in the first few months as your body changes and your baby grows. You probably will have lots of questions so be sure to write them down and bring them to the appointment. Going through this process can help ensure you don't forget anything you want to discuss.
In addition to these tips, also know that once you have received the good news, you shouldn't be surprised if you aren't immediately ready to eat for two. Contrary to popular belief, once pregnant, eating at all can be tricky. Be sure to carry snacks to keep your energy up and reduce feelings of nausea and light headedness. Rosie suggests snacking on iron-rich and protein-rich foods such as edamame as well as fruit like oranges that contain high amounts of vitamin C to increase iron absorption. In fact, if you are consuming 1800 calories a day and stable at a healthy weight and BMI you don't need to up your calorie intake until the last trimester. Make sure you consult your doctor to see where your weight and BMI fall.