When Preparing for Pregnancy
When preparing for pregnancy there are some important steps you need to take to give yourself the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
By taking control and being proactive you are ’empowering’ yourself with the knowledge and confidence that you are doing all you can to ensure good health.
You see, going into your pregnancy fit and healthy will help you in so many ways. From maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight to reducing the potential for certain health issues to occur. It starts now, before pregnancy!
What You Need to Do When Preparing for Pregnancy
1. Visit Your Doctor
A ‘pre-conception’ check-up is recommended not only for your overall current health but also for you to ask your Doctor any questions. You may have questions about medications you are taking (or have taken) or to discuss family medical history (possible genetic issues).
Your Doctor Will Ask You About:
1. Your diet.
2. Existing medical conditions (STD’s, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes).
3. Any major childhood diseases (rubella, chickenpox, measles).
4. A pelvic exam (pap smear).
5. Current weight (maybe underweight or overweight).
6. Current exercise and fitness regime.
7. If you smoke.
8. If you drink alcohol frequently.
9. What recreational drugs you may be taking.
11. Family medical history (cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease).
2. Genetic Carrier Screening
After providing your doctor with your family medical history and your background, they may recommend that you consider genetic carrier screening before you start trying to conceive.
3. Stop Taking Birth Control
When you stop taking birth control you will start to reverse the effects of the Pill or other contraceptive aids.
For some women it may take a month or two to get your ovulation back to normal so once you decide to try and get pregnant then stop taking birth control. Speak to your doctor about this topic.
4. Get Your Finances in Order
Raising a child is not cheap. Nor are the medical costs that go with having a baby. from your scans, tests, check-up and out-of-pocket hospital costs now is the time to start saving. There are also considerable costs involved in buy the essentials for baby.
This is also a reminder to check-up on your insurance coverage for pregnancy.
5. Know When You Ovulate
By knowing when you ovulate you can identify the most fertile days each month. Some chart their basal body temperature (BBT). There are also Ovulation predictor kits available.
6. Take Folic Acid
Folic acid supplements have been well publicised as a required supplement for pregnancy as it can cut your chances of having a baby with neural-tube defects such as spina bifida over 50% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Your Doctor can recommend a quality supplement for you and provide advice on how much you should be taking.
7. Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat before pregnancy will go a long way to improving your health but also building up the stores or required nutrients your baby will need.
8. Cut Back on the Caffeine
Research suggests that women trying to get pregnant or who are already pregnant should cut back on their caffeine intake. While not all the research to date has been conclusive, it does suggest that there is a link an increased risk of miscarriage.
9. Maintain a Healthy Weight
By maintaining a healthy weight you will not only be looking after your own health but also increases your chances of becoming pregnant. If you have an excessively low or high body mass index (BMI) then it will likely make it more difficult for you to get pregnant.
10. Not All Food is Recommended
We all know the health benefits of eating fish. However; when pregnant there are some fish you should not eat due to its high levels of mercury.
11. Stop Drinking So Much!
Excessive drinking of alcohol while trying to get pregnant (or at any stage of life) is not recommended. The effects on you and your unborn baby can cause significant health concerns. Moderate consumption is OK but it is best if you limit your alcohol consumption.
12. Stop Smoking!
Give up binge drinking, smoking, and drugs – and get help if you need it. The negative impact on your health of smoking is well-publicised. Smoking can affect your fertility making it more difficult to fall pregnant.
Smoking while pregnant can cause harm to your baby and lead to premature birth, miscarriage, and low-birth-weight babies.
13. Stay Fit and Exercise!
Your PregActive workouts are a great way to stay in shape and prepare your body for pregnancy. Along with following our workout routines you can also add in some extra sessions if required.
14. Avoid Gum Disease
When you are pregnant you may be more susceptible to gum disease due to hormonal (higher progesterone, oestrogen) levels. It is worth booking in a visit to your dentist for cleaning and a general check-up.
15. Look After Your Mental Health
If you experience prenatal mental health issues (depression, anxiety) you will want to speak to your treating doctor about your desire to get pregnant and any medications you may be taking.
They will be able to help you find an antidepressant that’s safe to take while you’re trying to conceive and during your pregnancy.
16. Stay Healthy and Disease Free
Maintaining overall good health is important when pregnant and also while trying to get pregnant. You do not want to become pregnant while experiencing some serious health issue. talk to your Doctor about a flu shot.
17. Stay Away from Toxic Chemicals
In our everyday life we are surrounded by toxic chemicals in the foods we eat, the packaging, in the soil, air pollution and toxins at work. While we cannot eliminate all exposure to environmental dangers we can reduce our exposure to these hazardous chemicals.
18. Children are Not for Everyone!
When you have a child your life will change significantly and for some people they are not prepared or do not want this commitment. You also need to make sure that your partner is also on the same page when it comes to having a child. Have this discussion now.
19. Get Your Home in Order
If you are living in a one bedroom apartment then you will need to consider a move to an affordable home with a room for your baby. While this is not an immediate concern it will soon become one once you are pregnant. Your financial situation will obviously affect such decisions.