Time for Change

There are very few things that can alter a person's life the way pregnancy and a new baby can. Somehow, that tiny person has the capacity to change everything and life is never the same. There are some things a woman can do to prepare for the myriad changes she is about to embark upon once pregnant. Developing healthy lifestyle habits before getting pregnant can help make the pregnancy easier and can also help protect the health of both mother and unborn baby.

Don't Try To Change It All Today

Habits take time to develop and they also take time to break. It is a wonderful idea to begin to change unhealthy habits before getting pregnant and then to continue to reinforce good health habits once you're pregnant. Since you don't wake up in the morning with a habit, you might consider that trying to change everything in one go could end up in discouragement. It's quite ambitious to quit smoking and drinking and start eating better and establishing a workout routine. Why not start with changing a habit that will give you the most confidence to continue once the habit is broken? If you've been a heavy smoker, perhaps conquering nicotine is the best place to establish your first victory.

Make It Do-Able and Create Success

Choose one thing you can change and then believe you can do it. Focus on that one change and set a time line for breaking the habit or making the change. Break the journey down into manageable chunks so that when you have accomplished one part you can celebrate your success and reinforce your goals. Keep a picture in your mind of the "new you", the one free of the habit and living a healthy lifestyle then head in that direction. Be specific about your goals as well. Rather than saying you will start an exercise program, actually start taking a walk every day. Write your goals and track them - it's a great way to run interference with procrastination.

Be Your Own Cheerleader and Coach

Be kind to yourself and talk positively to and about yourself. It is a good idea to surround yourself with helpful support - people who will cheer you on as you work on your new behaviors. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to speaking negatively and unkindly. Be your own greatest fan and cheerleader. Remove the things that lead to trouble. If you want to stop drinking before you get pregnant, get the wine out of the house. Enlisting the help of your partner can lead to great successes for both of you.

It's Not Going to Happen in a Day

Studies show that it takes a full month to establish a new habit pattern. During the time you are working on establishing new habits, don't allow for any deviating from the path. This is the one time you should be strict with yourself - "just this time" or "I'll just have one" is not part of the vocabulary list for this month. Sure it's going to be tough, and you're allowed to grieve the loss of your favorite cookies. You'll recover.

Pat Yourself on the Back

Reward yourself with healthful rewards. A manicure, a new CD, or a new haircut is a great treat to reinforce your success. Remember, you are doing this for the health and welfare of a new member of your family - your baby - and for yourself as well.


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