Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do when you are planning on becoming pregnant. You will want to be emotionally, physically and mentally healthy to prepare yourself for the marathon that is parenting.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy products. Speak to your health care provider about taking prenatal multi-vitamins or other supplements. Try to get lots of sleep, take life a bit slower and try to relax and enjoy your friends and family as much as you can. When spending time with friends and family, however, cut out any alcohol or substance use as no amount of alcohol, drugs or nicotine is safe during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should exercise every day. In fact, many experts say that active pregnant women are better prepared for birthing – so continue to walk the dog and go to the gym. As your body changes, you may need to adjust your regular exercise routine to ensure your health and safety. Speak to your health care provider if you are concerned about your exercise routine.

Keep in mind that when you find out that you are pregnant, you might want to wait to share your news with the world. A common length of time to wait is usually about 14 weeks. The reason many people wait to share their good news is that unfortunately about one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage, with most miscarriages occurring in the first trimester (within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy). But some women choose to tell close family and friends about their pregnancy before the 14th week of pregnancy because they feel they need and want these people to support them if they did have a miscarriage. Do what's best for you.

If you have experienced a miscarriage in the past or are worried that you will have one in the future, speak to your midwife, health care provider and other supports. Talking about your fear, sadness, worry and other feelings will help you to cope and grieve your loss. Know that many women have experienced miscarriages and go on to have healthy, full-term pregnancies afterwards.

In Manitoba, prenatal care is insured through our medical system and is provided by family physicians, obstetricians and midwives. In most cases, the choice of provider is yours.

If you have a medical condition that places you or your developing baby at high risk, you will be referred to a specialist, most likely an obstetrician.

You may also want to begin to think about where you wish to give birth. In Manitoba, physicians attend women giving birth in hospital; midwives attend women at both hospital and home births. There is now a third option, with the opening of Manitoba’s first Birth Centre in South Winnipeg.