1. Don’t slack on fertility appointments
Most importantly, after a positive pregnancy test, a couple should continue seeing a fertility specialist. A fertility specialist may also use blood tests to monitor hCG levels, the pregnancy hormone, to ensure the pregnancy is progressing properly. A couple may find that 8-10 weeks pass between a positive test and when a fertility specialist recommends transitioning to an OB/GYN.
2. Get and stay active
Even if a woman wasn’t particularly active before becoming pregnant, incorporating physical activity daily is a smart way to ensure a smoother delivery experience. Staying active can also help reduce common pregnancy discomforts such as backaches, constipation, and poor sleep as well as reduce the risk of contracting gestational diabetes. However, a woman who is just beginning an exercise routine after conceiving should speak to an OB/GYN to determine which activities are safest. The goal should be to achieve or maintain a healthy weight throughout the pregnancy.
3. Pay attention to diet
Just like exercise matters, so does a healthy diet. A pregnant woman should incorporate more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains into a daily diet. Many people think that pregnancy is a time to eat anything under the sun, but the opposite is true. In particular:
- Avoid consuming raw foods
- Stay away from soft cheeses
- Limit mercury intake
- Consume no more than 200mg of caffeine per day
- Avoid consuming alcohol
4. Pop those vitamins
Most pregnant women know that a good prenatal vitamin is essential to support proper brain, bone, and circulatory system development in a fetus. Many women don’t get enough nutrients or vitamins from food, even from a healthy diet. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, DHA, and iodine. For women unsure of the right vitamin to select, bring the topic up at the next fertility specialist or OB/GYN appointment.
5. Banish stress
Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women, but conceiving after IVF can create an added level of anxiety. Until a couple is ready, don’t feel pressured to tell relatives or friends about the pending pregnancy. In the meantime, try to rest as needed, and incorporate soothing techniques like meditation and even moderate exercise to lower cortisol levels, a key hormone linked with anxiety. If the stress is too much, find a trusted person to talk to, such as a friend or a licensed therapist. If attempts to naturally reduce stress aren’t working, talk with a physician.
Remember to enjoy being pregnant
Regardless, a couple should remember that the hardest part, trying to conceive, is done. While pregnancy comes with unexpected challenges, couples and pregnant women, in particular, should embrace the journey and prepare for entering a new stage in life. For more information about having a healthy pregnancy, speak with a fertility specialist or OB/GYN.