Well, first, let it be known that I am a big planner. For me, when I plan, there is room for spontaneity. If I don’t have a plan, or at least a semblance of one, I find myself frazzled. Everyone plays to their own tune, so knowing your tune is the first place to start in the world of preconception planning.
Our first, second and fourth pregnancies weren’t planned, though the third was. Our first resulted in a 41+ week awesome homebirth attended by two local midwives and our doula and Bradley instructor. Our second and fourth pregnancies both resulted in miscarriages, the first just before 6 weeks and the second at 9 ½ weeks. Our third pregnancy resulted in another 41+ week amazing water birth at home in the presence of my mom, three Midwives, two Doulas and our 4 year old with my mom as her Doula.
In my work as a Birth Doula, I find it isn’t uncommon for couples to reach out right after they see two pink lines on the pregnancy test. They aren’t sure if they should call their mom, best friend or sister, but they know the secret is safe with their doula. Some couples call even before they are pregnant for preconception planning. Being a childbirth educator, I am a no-strings-attached “safe” first stop for these couples. They have lots of questions, want to plan around vacations, graduations, work promotions and family. Some of that planning works and some find themselves pregnant before the planning actually begins!
The most commonly asked question around planning for pregnancy is nutrition. I could carry on for a month and a day talking solely about the importance of nutrition from preconception through the first postpartum year, though I will generally work with the mother-to-be over the course of a few coaching sessions or have her do a Nutrition Response Testing visit if she’s close by to get her properly set up. Moms at this stage are eager and excited to learn about their bodies and how to create the safest baby growing space possible. Most have no idea how important nutrition is. They have heard to eat well, eat for two and to take vitamins, but typically there is no guidance beyond those good intentions.
Even the father-to-be gets excited at this point as they take on getting healthy as his role is one of getting their home toxin free. Some fathers-to-be take on learning about chemical free lawn care, how to paint a nursery, putting together the crib 3 months early, and any task mama passes on to him during her time of preparation and pregnancy 🙂
What preconception planning means to these moms-to-be is a time to grow inward. It’s time to focus on getting healthy, staying low risk and knowing oneself. This will be the last time you are walking through life without a little barnacle of love attached to you. Be still, surrender to silence, dream big. Stare at the stars, name your children, do that last marathon, and stock your fridge with healthy food choices. Go to the farmers market, connect with your family and enjoy life on girls weekends. Be with your partner, love and listen to each other, build your life and wonder together. Build a solid platform that bends when the world gets tough.
Nothing can truly prepare you for the awesomeness of pregnancy, especially that first time, so finding resources such as private childbirth education courses, birth doula support and proper nutrition to educate and inform you is the true prize!