If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, it is not too early to start getting ready for pregnancy. Preconception health and health care focus on things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. For some women, getting their body ready for pregnancy takes a few months. For other women, it might take longer. Whether this is your first, second, or sixth baby, the following are important steps to help you get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.Have a parenting talk:
Most of the experts and real moms we spoke with agreed that it’s important to chat with your partner about some of the biggie parenting issues — like how you’ll share childcare, working vs. staying home, religious traditions — before you start trying. “But before you start freaking out over differing opinions on circumcision, public vs. private schools, or other things that are way down the road, remember that you can and will change your mind about a lot of these issues as you go along. The important thing is for couples to start talking about their priorities, expectations, and fears throughout the entire process, especially before you get pregnant.”
# Pay doctor a visit:
Many experts recommend booking a pre-pregnancy checkup at your ob-gyn at least three months before you plan to start trying, especially if you don’t see the doctor regularly. You’ll want to make sure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations, checked for STDs, tested for heart-health issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol, and make sure that any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or thyroid problems, are in check. (It’s a good idea to send your husband to visit an internist too — most men see doctors far less regularly than women. A regular physical can help ensure he has no chronic conditions or is taking medications that may affect sperm count or cause other fertility problems.) Depending on your ethnic background, your doctor may also recommendgenetic testing. This visit is a good opportunity to make sure any medications you take are safe to use while trying to conceive, and to ask your doctor anything on your mind about getting pregnant or pregnancy.
# Go off the pill:
Stop your birth control a couple of months before you plan to start trying. This gives you a bit of time to see what your natural menstrual cycle is like — 27 days? 32? — so you can figure out when you’re ovulating, the time of the month when you’re mostfertile. If you’ve been taking the pill for a while, your cycle could be different from what it was before you started. It can take a while for hormone levels to get back on track after you ditch the pill, but if your period’s still MIA after three months, you should see your doctor.
#Eating Right for One:
Soon you’ll crave ice cream and pickles. But now, one of the best things you can do is to eat healthy, before you’re pregnant. Ask your partner to join you. You’ll need lots of protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid. So stock up on fruits, nuts, veggies, leafy greens, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on chips, baked goods, soda, and other junk foods with empty calories.
# Take Folic Acid:
You should start taking a daily vitamin. For pregnancy planning, you need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, the amount in most multivitamins. This B vitamin comes in many foods, like leafy greens, citrus, and beans — but most women need a pill to get enough. Folic acid helps prevent serious birth defects.
# Keep a check on your weight :
If you’re overweight, your risk during pregnancy is higher for things such as high blood pressure and diabetes. You may also be less comfortable during pregnancy, and your labor may be longer. If necessary, use the time before getting pregnant to lose extra weight.
# Adopt a habit of exercising daily:
The more fit you are, the easier your pregnancy and delivery may be. But if you exercise too much, it can make getting pregnant harder. And overdoing it once you’re pregnant can be dangerous. If you haven’t been exercising, start before you get pregnant. While you are pregnant, you can probably keep up a light exercise program. Walking every day is good exercise. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan that is best for you.
# Get the following tests done:
You may need some tests to find out if you have problems that could harm you or your baby during pregnancy. Many things can be treated before pregnancy to help prevent problems for you and your baby.
It is necessary that the mother has sufficient hemoglobin in her blood stream to meet that demand. Generally, the expected levels are between 12-14 grams. When the levels fall below 10 grams, doctors consider the condition to be anemic and prescribe appropriate medication so that the woman is in perfect condition to bear a baby.
If you don’t know whether you’ve ever had rubella (also called the German measles) or been vaccinated against it, a blood test can give the answer. Catching rubella while you’re pregnant can be very harmful for your baby. You can be vaccinated against rubella before you get pregnant.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and AIDS can make it hard for you to get pregnant and can also harm you or your baby. It is best if these diseases are diagnosed and treated before pregnancy.
# Cut Back on Caffeine:
# Take a appointment from your dentist:
It may seem totally unrelated to fertility, but getting your teeth and gums checked out before pregnancy is another wise move, says Dr. Greene. More and more research links oral health to a healthy pregnancy; women with unchecked gum disease are more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. “In fact, brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly can cut your miscarriage risk by up to 70 percent,” he says. Having your teeth examined now gives you time to get gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) under control and get x-rays (which should be avoided during pregnancy) if you need them. If your oral health is less than stellar, your dentist may recommend you come in for cleanings every few months.
# Prepare Your Pet:
Until now, your dog or cat has been your baby. But when a crying, cooing infant shows up, your pet may be upset. Help him adjust now. Have baby supplies, including lotion and diapers, around the house so he can get used to the smells. Start enforcing new rules now — like staying off furniture or out of the nursery. Borrow baby clothes, and even practice with a doll so your pet gets used to sharing your attention.
# Take a Pre-Baby Trip:
Start planning your babymoon. Now’s a good time for a grown-up getaway. Whether it’s to a fancy restaurant or a relaxing beach, go somewhere solo or with your partner that you’d never take a baby. This is a good chance for some “me” or “we” time before all the fun starts.
# Ask your mom about her pregnancy:
And your sisters, aunts, and grandmas, if you can. Did it take them a long time to conceive? Were there any complications, like preterm labor or having a breech delivery? Certain health conditions tend to run in families, and it’s a smart idea to brush up on your history and share any relevant information with your doctor. But don’t worry too much. Just because it took your sister a year to get pregnant doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have a hard time too.
# Time Off After Baby:
If you work, start thinking about what you want to do once you have your baby. Some companies give you paid time off after you give birth. Others will give you unpaid time. You may also be able to use sick days or vacation time. Check your health plan, too, to see which doctors and hospitals are covered.
# Budget for Baby:
Babies need a lot of stuff. They go through about 8,000 diapers before they’re potty-trained! You’ll also need clothes, a car seat, and a stroller, and maybe formula and bottles. Your budget will also include doctor visits and possibly child care. Make a list of what you’ll need and start looking now. To stretch your dollar, consider gently used baby clothes, buying in bulk, and family day care.
# Stop Drinking:
It’s a good idea to give up drinking before you start trying for a baby. Alcohol can sometimes make it harder to conceive. And drinking during pregnancy raises the chances for birth defects and learning problems. Don’t freak out if you had a drink before you knew you were expecting. One drink is probably OK. But since doctors don’t know how much alcohol it takes to cause problems, it’s best to avoid it entirely.
# Quit Smoking:
It’s common sense, but if you smoke, stop. Smoking can make it harder for you to get pregnant. And lighting up during pregnancy can up your chances of problems like premature birth, low birth weight, and miscarriage. It also puts your baby at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Ask your partner to quit, too. Secondhand smoke is dangerous. And it may hurt male fertility.
# Make the environment suitable for baby:
Talk with your doctor about your workplace and home environments to find out if there are any dangers. If anything could harm your baby at work, you may be able to use special clothing or equipment to protect your baby, or you may be able to get a short-term transfer before and during pregnancy.
# Find your surefire stress remedy:
Some research shows that having crazy-high stress levels can delay your ability to get pregnant (by making ovulation wacky, or by interfering with an embryo’s ability to implant in the uterus). If you’re an uber-Type A personality to begin with, your stress may ramp up once you’re pregnant and dealing with getting your home and life ready for baby. “Take an emotional gut-check now, make sure you feel calm and prepared for this next phase of your life, and figure out what helps you relax best.