How to get ready to be pregnant
So, finally you have decided to take a plunge in the life’s major challenge, parenting. However, do not just jump all at once, after you decide. To ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, you and your partner have to put in few efforts. These efforts are not only for the well being of your child but also for the life after baby.
These efforts need you to plan before you actually start. The first trimester of pregnancy is quite critical and painful as during this phase baby’s organs begin to develop and mother faces sickness (though not necessarily with all). So, better you plan, healthier will be your baby.
How Pre-planning can be helpful?
- It helps in conceiving conveniently
- Leads to healthy and safe pregnancy
- Minimizes pregnancy complications
- Informs and prepares you for forthcoming challenge
- Minimizes child’s risk of adult complications
If you are reading this and thinking that you have already started trying for baby then also no issues, as it is never too late to make changes in your lifestyle to ensure good health.
How to Plan a Healthy Pregnancy
Preconception check up: the very first thing that you should opt for is the pre-conception visit to your doctor or midwife. The visit helps your doctor know about your medical history and family history related to diseases like asthma, diabetes and blood pressure, and accordingly suggests supplements. If you are on some medication, he/she will suggest you to continue or discontinue as some medications are not favorable for conception and also unsafe for pregnancy.
He/she would also like to know your lifestyle regarding diet, exercise, work load or some unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking etc. It would be good if you make this visit at least three months before trying to conceive as your doctor will also suggest you some multivitamins and iron supplements which will help you in conceiving and protect your child from certain diseases.
You may also be asked for some immunization tests to ensure the healthy development of child inside your body. This visit should be accompanied by your partner also as his medical conditions and family history is equally important.
Parenting talk between you both: before getting into pregnancy, you should discuss all the big issues with your partner. Having a child means lots of responsibilities and you should discuss how you are going to share your time and energy with baby. One must know about the priorities, expectations and fears related to this process.
Ditch the pill: before your decision, you may be taking some birth control pills. However, once you make your mind, you should stop them before you try so as to know the periodicity of your menstrual cycle. Taking pills at times disrupt your normal menstrual cycle, so first let your menstrual cycle be regular and then only start trying. By charting your periods, you can track the symptoms of being fertile i.e. when you are ovulating through an ovulation calculator.
Change your lifestyle and abandon all unhealthy habits: If trying to conceive, say a big no to smoking and drinking. The rule applies to the couple as in men also, indulging in drinking and smoking while trying can lead to low quality of sperm. In women, it is seen that these habits often leads to miscarriage, low birth weight or premature birth.
Get yourself vaccinated: If you are not vaccinated for some infections like rubella or hepatitis B, you must go for it else it can cause miscarriage or birth defects in your baby. A tetanus booster is equally essential to prevent your baby from infections.
Eliminate any risk of sexually transmitted diseases: If you or your partner is at risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis and Chlamydia, you must consult your doctor. These diseases reduce the chances of conceiving. Further, they are life threatening for the mother and baby.
Start on with pre-pregnancy supplements: On your pre-conception visit, your doctor would definitely advise you for a daily supplement of 400 mcg of folic acid. This is important as it reduces neural tube defects in your developing baby. You must start with folic acid even before trying to conceive and should regular at least for first trimester. For dads-to-be, folic acid, zinc and vitamin C are important for healthy and optimal sperm production.
In case, you are having diabetes or some coeliac disease or have a family history of neural tube defects, you may be asked to increase its dosage to about 5 mg per day.
Boost your fertility with good food: While trying to conceive, you will have to definitely watch on your eating habits. Try to include more of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your food. Cut your fat intake.
Watch your weight: Being underweight and overweight are not favorable to be pregnant. An overweight woman invites risk of blood pressure, gestational diabetes, oversize babies and cesarean section while preterm labor, low-birth weight and being anemic are problems associated with an underweight lady.
Opt for a fitness program: If you are spending much of your time into the couch than on cardio, now is the time to get into some physical exercises. Being active physically will help you in coping pregnancy pains and backaches. Further, it will also boost sound sleep, keeps you in fresh mood and helps you in managing stress.
See the dentist: Having Gum issues can lead to preterm delivery. So, it’s better to visit your dentist to ensure good dental health. High levels of progesterone and estrogen levels during pregnancy can worsen bacterial Gum infections leading to swollen and bleeding gums. If some x-rays, medications and other treatments are suggested, first go through them and then start trying to conceive.
Clean out your medicine drawers: Up till now, you may be taking some pills for headaches, allergies, constipation or are on some herbal products without anybody’s advice. However, it is the time to clear them as you never know which medicine can curb your fertility. Always consult a doctor for any medication you take.
Watch the fish you eat: Though it is recommended to have fish during pregnancy as it is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and vitamin D but it also contains mercury which can be hazardous for your child. Therefore, it is suggested that you must not fall upon shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. However, you may pick from herring, farm-raised rainbow trout, salmon, and sardines. You must also avoid undercooked meat or seafood.
Stress-free you: According to studies, stress can undermine your fertility, and nothing is better to stave off stress than to take a good sleep. Now when you are in baby free home, take advantage and enjoy a guilt-free sleeping. Nap often and stay in bed till late.
Take safety measures and keep away with environmental hazards: If your job requires you to be in contact with some harmful chemicals or prolonged standing then you must do something to get away with it. Moreover your daily chores which include handling dirty works like cleaning rodent and cat cage, handling solvents and pesticides must be handed over to some other family member. Being in contact with these things can be harmful for your baby. So, make it a habit to be away before to get pregnant.
Cut your caffeine intake: A daily intake of more than 300 mg of caffeine can cause fertility problems like miscarriage, preterm delivery and low-birth weight. Therefore, you should develop habit of being in limit. No needs to cut it entirely but make sure you do not take more than 200 mg, as studies reveal.
Ask your partner to keep cool: Generally, a lower scrotal temperature is a favorable condition for sperms to develop and flourish. Therefore, dads-to-be should switch on to boxers leaving briefs. Moreover, they must not keep laptops on your lap and should not indulge in strenuous cycling.
Last but not the least is to rethink your decision. As I said earlier, parenthood is a huge responsibility so you must prepare yourself mentally to face the challenges ahead. You and your partner; both must be committed to be parents and should be ready to fulfill special needs of your child.