When planning for a new baby, there is a lot more going on than just baby showers and gear. A mother needs to go into her pregnancy in great health and in the best shape she can be. The family home will need to be secured, and some financial planning is also a good idea.

1. Build Up Your Physical Strength

One of the first steps to take when preparing for pregnancy is to start a low-impact exercise program. A focus on exercises that will elevate your heart rate without bouncing should be approved by your OB, such as

  • walking
  • step dance classes
  • swimming

Now is also the time to start working on both Kegel and core exercises. A sore back can be avoided for much of the pregnancy with low-heeled shoes, gentle spinal exercises, and heat. You may also want to use a timer to help you get in the habit of moving; don’t stand or sit for too long a period.

2. Focus On Your Diet

Now is the time to cut out foods high in mercury and increase your intake of foods containing folic acid. Talk to your physician about the best time to start a prenatal vitamin. Create a rotor of nutritious meals that you can enjoy with your family; if you have picky eaters, you want to prepare them as much as possible. The preparatory months before pregnancy are also the time to quit caffeine.

Make sure you are also ready to revisit these recipes once you clear the first trimester. For many women, these first three months are loaded with foods that don’t taste right and spaces that smell weird. Your appetite will likely return. Stay patient.

3. Increase Your Gut Health

It is very common for women to struggle with constipation in the early months of pregnancy. Now is the time to test out the fibers that will help you best. If you’ve been eating an apple each day for a healthy gut, you may have to add more raw produce to your other meals.

Additionally, make sure you now increase your water intake. If you’ve never taken a laxative in your life, talk to your doctor about having one just in case of an emergency. If your fiber intake has not been terrific, avoid shocking the gut with a large fiber overload. Work up to a plate configuration that is rich in veggies.

4. Prepare Your Budget

If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one. Babies aren’t necessarily as expensive as you may have been warned, especially if this is not your first child, but a padded bank account can be a terrific help should you need to be on bed rest during your pregnancy.

5. Protect Your Home

This is the time to add all those safety features you’ve been thinking about. If you have a pool, add a security gate and a surface motion sensor. If you have an open staircase, you’re going to need to add a barrier.

For those with beloved pets, an introduction to the baby’s room and the baby’s gear is critical. Your pets are going to be incredibly curious about your new addition and may become frantic or destructive if you try to keep them out of the space.

Take care of maintenance issues now. For example, as soon as the weather is temperate, get your HVAC unit serviced. Get a plumber to come over and check out your hot water heater. While these chores may be intrusive, living without heat, cooling, and hot water when you have a baby in the house is dangerous.

6. Increase Community

Reach out to friends and family. Accept offers of help. Let your handy friends come over and paint the baby’s room while your foodie friends prepare you something delicious, loaded with all the foods you’re supposed to eat when you’re pregnant. Ask friends with toddlers for ideas on furniture and gear; they may have things that you can borrow once your baby arrives.

A new baby is a joyful celebration. Yes, you may be tired of people asking how you’re feeling or sharing their pregnancy horror stories. However, the majority of the folks around you will be excited.