Embarking on the selfless path of gestational surrogacy can bring immeasurable joy to intended parents and provide life-long satisfaction to you as the surrogate, knowing that you’ve done something unique and awe-inspiring for someone else. As you prepare to embrace this extraordinary journey, prioritizing your well-being becomes paramount, ensuring not only a healthy pregnancy but also a successful experience for everyone involved.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is always important, but it’s especially crucial for anyone who is planning on carrying a pregnancy. Even though surrogates are not carrying their own children, their health and nutrition needs before and during pregnancy are essentially the same as a standard pregnancy. Some basic pre-pregnancy prep diet tips may include:
- Eating foods high in fiber
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating foods high in folate, iron, calcium, and protein
- Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates
- Avoiding alcohol, raw or undercooked fish, mercury-rich fish, raw meat, and soft cheese
Keep in mind that many surrogacy contracts have stipulations about diet baked into them. Furthermore, your doctor will likely also have advice and information about what foods are best for your specific situation.
You should also discuss prenatal vitamins with your fertility doctor. During pregnancy itself, the body requires more vitamins and minerals, such as folate, iron, and calcium. Folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form, is well-known for being vital during pregnancy, as it can help prevent birth defects. Depending on the specifics of your contract and recommendations from the fertility doctor, taking folate or folic acid supplements before embryo transfer can help create a healthy environment for the developing fetus.
Surrogacy-Safe Physical Activity
Engaging in regular physical activity before and during pregnancy will help you stay fit and maintain a healthy weight during the surrogacy journey. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health & Human Services, physical activity can help reduce a wide range of pregnancy side effects and complications, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Relieving backaches, leg cramps, and bloating
- Lowering your risk of developing gestational diabetes
- Lowering the risk of postpartum depression
- Reducing the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia (i.e., high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Reducing the need for a C-section
- Shortening the length of labor and postpartum recovery
When preparing your body for a surrogate pregnancy, it’s best to avoid high-impact or strenuous exercise, instead opting for activities like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, or light strength training. It’s also important to avoid using hot tubs, saunas, or steam rooms. Again, the surrogacy contract may contain provisions regarding exercise and physical activity. Your doctor will also provide more specific advice and guidance.
Preparing your body for pregnancy as a surrogate is a crucial step in ensuring a healthy and successful surrogacy journey. One aspect that should not be overlooked is managing stress. Surrogacy can be both emotionally and physically demanding, so it’s essential to prioritize your well-being.
To effectively manage stress, there are several techniques you can incorporate into your daily routine. Mindfulness and meditation are powerful practices that can help you stay grounded and focused throughout the process. Engaging in deep breathing exercises can also help alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.
Another way to manage stress is by participating in healthy activities that you enjoy. Physical exercise not only benefits your overall well-being but can also be a great way to release pent-up stress and boost your mood.
In addition to stress management, getting enough sleep is of utmost importance during the surrogacy process. Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night to support your body’s health and promote the well-being of both you and the baby.
Involving Your Family
Preparing to become a surrogate is not just a personal journey; it also affects your family members who may be an essential part of your support system. It’s crucial to involve your family in the process right from the beginning and keep them informed and engaged throughout. Here are some ways to include your family in the pre-pregnancy preparation and surrogacy journey:
- Open Communication: Sit down with your partner, children, or other close family members and have an open and honest conversation about your decision to become a surrogate. Discuss the reasons behind your choice, your feelings, and any concerns they might have. Addressing their questions and fears will foster understanding and support.
- Emotional Support: Encourage your family to be emotionally involved in the journey. Share your experiences, hopes, and fears with them. Let them know how they can support you during challenging times. Having a strong support network can make a significant difference in managing stress and emotional well-being.
- Attend Medical Appointments Together: If possible, involve your family members in prenatal appointments and check-ups. This will not only provide them with a deeper connection to the process but also allow them to witness the development of the baby and be a part of important milestones.
- Create a Support Plan: Develop a support plan with your family to ensure that everyone’s needs are met during the surrogacy journey. Discuss responsibilities and how daily tasks will be managed to accommodate your needs while carrying the intended parents’ baby.
- Celebrate Milestones Together: Celebrate important milestones during the pregnancy with your family, such as the baby’s first heartbeat, gender reveal, or the first ultrasound. These shared experiences will strengthen your bond and create lasting memories.
Preparing for Pregnancy as a Surrogate
As you begin the surrogacy journey, remember that your health and well-being are vital to ensuring a successful and fulfilling experience for both you and the intended parents. Prioritize a healthy diet, engage in surrogacy-safe physical activity, manage stress with mindfulness techniques, and involve your family as your support system. To take the next steps, connect with Reproductive Possibilities, a trusted surrogacy agency committed to guiding you every step of the way.