Pre Pregnancy Care
Points to Consider Before Getting Pregnant/How to Get Prepared for Pregnancy
To get fit for whole life, to get healthy and problem free pregnancy and to get healthy baby, it is very necessary for all women to consider some important points before getting pregnant or planning for pregnancy. If a parent is preparing for good parenthood, they must try healthy things to get the healthiest pregnancies possible. If a woman is planning to become a healthy mother of a healthy baby, it is very good decision of bringing a new little and lovely member to the family as well as to start a new life however; it needs some care by a little bit changing in diet as well as lifestyle habits.
Preparing to get healthy and fit before getting pregnant is not only give birth to a healthy baby but also let a mother getting prepared to handle a lot of changes to her life. I have mentioned below all the answers of all questions a mother generally has before getting pregnant:
What you Need to Do
- Good nutrition, simple exercises, maintaining healthy lifestyle and regular health checkup with the health care provider are good choices of getting healthy pregnancy.
- It is good practice to discuss with your doctor before planning pregnancy to solve all the problems related to health, diet, life style, relationship with partners, busy schedule of your life and so many points which needs to get considered.
- Let your health care provider to know the details about you and your partner to get correct instructions, diagnosis or tests if you have any problems.
- Let your health consultant known about your medical history, family history and menstrual history including your overall physical examination, Pap test, breast checkup, pelvic examination, blood tests, urine tests and etc.
- Pre-pregnancy planning visits help a woman going to be a mother to fight with various problems which can make her pregnancy more difficult later.
- Pre-pregnancy planning visits also help to treat any diseases if you have before pregnancy related to heart, kidney, high blood pressure, other chronic conditions like diabetes, lupus, HIV/AIDS, history of unexplained stillbirths, miscarriage, premature child birth, child with birth defects or genetic disorders, sexually transmitted infection, obese, overweight, weight problem, history of eating disorders, getting pregnant after 35 and so many.
- A medical checkup for your vaccinations against Rubella (German measles) or chickenpox is very necessary to get prevented from the birth defects and other problems.
- Regular dental checkup is also necessary before and during the pregnancy to be prevented from the gum disease.
- Avoid eating undercooked meat to get prevented from the toxoplasmosis which causes birth defects.
- Keep yourself safe and away from the pets like cats, hamsters, guinea pigs and mice that carries virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis causing major problems in baby.
- Keep yourself away from the harmful chemicals such as paint thinner which enhances the chances of birth defects in baby.
- Get help from someone if you are getting abused by your partner before or during pregnancy.
Eat balanced Diet
- It is very necessary to eat healthy and increase the calorie intake by 100–300 more calories per day to manage the weight if your are underweight or within a normal range.
- Start eating healthy and balanced foods, fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to be as healthy as possible to get your baby healthy as well.
- Start eating at right time and sleeping well at right time to keep your mind and body balanced and healthy.
- Start eating whole grains (whole grain bread and brown rice) to increase your carbohydrate intake to get more energetic.
- Increase your intake of protein on daily basis by eating meat, egg, dairy products, tofu and beans to help your fetus to grow healthy.
Start eating some fats in your diet by eating fish (rich source of omega-3 fatty acids necessary for brain and eye development in baby, but should be taken in limit as it contains mercury harmful for health) and vegetable sources, if you are already health conscious, as it helps in absorbing more vitamins from foods.
Have fiber rich foods by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains for 3-6 times a day as it helps you getting relaxed and free from the constipation during pregnancy.
Vitamins are the most important things which should not be ignored during pregnancy as they play great role in the brain and other necessary development in the fetus as well as maintaining the health of mother. Intake of vitamins should be started before planning pregnancy to fulfill the lack of it. Add more foods containing folic acid (prevents a fetus from birth defects of brain and spinal cord), iron, B group vitamins, vitamin C, A, D, E, K such as beans, leafy and green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, broccoli, avocado, eggs, brussel sprouts, asparagus, berries, bran flakes, oranges, grapefruit, chick peas, soybeans and etc. Taking multivitamin pills can also be started by the advice of health care provider if one is not getting enough vitamins through foods only during pregnancy.
A woman planned for getting pregnant need to change her lifestyle by adding some simple exercises, avoiding smoking, drugs or alcohol, reducing stress and ensure safety at workplace.
Simple exercises provide fitness, feel better as well as make you more energetic which helps you to fight with pregnancy problems or handle delivery. You can enjoy exercising by just walking, swimming, yoga, and other advised by your doctor.
For getting healthy pregnancy, male partner health also matters. He must eat healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals, good and active lifestyle to get his sperm count well, quality and healthy as low quality and low sperm count leads to late and difficult pregnancy.
Get Appointment with your Health Care Provider
It is very necessary to meet your health care provider to get better health advice about diet, exercise, life style and etc before getting pregnant. Meet your gynecologist as well to get healthy pregnancy by getting free from the confusion of bad past history, diseased family history or your partners problems. It also helps in managing your health problems like diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, eating disorders, depression and asthma. It is very necessary to treat your all problems before getting pregnant to prevent your baby from the side effects of hard medications.
How much time you need to get Prepared for Pregnancy
A woman and man should start pre-pregnancy care at least 3 months before getting pregnant and before becoming sexually active. A woman planned to get pregnant should start taking 400 to 800 micrograms (or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid per day to get prevented from the risk of birth defects in fetus.
It is very necessary to have healthy weight before getting pregnant as both overweight or underweight enhances the risk of various problems during pregnancy. A woman must start eating healthy and exercise daily to get physical fitness and healthy weight.
Genetic Counseling by Genetic Professional
Some genetic conditions which are listed below are very necessary to be discussed with genetic professional:
- Family history of genetic conditions like birth defect, cancer, chromosomal disorder and etc.
- Give birth to a baby having inherited disorders, birth defects, and intellectual disability.
- More than two pregnancy losses, stillbirth and birth of dead baby.
- A woman planning to get pregnant at her 35 or later.
You can join parenthood classes to know how to manage your all responsibilities like daily routine work, family and baby as having a baby is a lifetime commitment especially for mother. However, it is very necessary for baby that you and your partner should be equally committed towards parenting.
What you Don’t Need to Do
- Use of sugary foods and soft drinks such as candy and soda should be avoided before getting pregnant.
- Some medical conditions like obesity, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, bad oral health should be controlled under normal through regular checkup as these may harm your pregnancy.
- Stay away from the toxic substances, chemicals, cat or rodent feces to be prevented from infection and side effects.
Smoking should be avoided by both of the partners in order to get improved their health. Below I have listed some reasons of why it is necessary to quit smoking before getting pregnant:
- It enables late pregnancy in smoking woman than nonsmokers.
- It enhances the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor and etc than nonsmokers.
- It has dangerous chemicals for the growing fetus.
- It enhances the birth of low birth weight babies having variety of serious health problems.
- Passive smoking (you are breathing in close with the person smoking) is also dangerous for both mother and baby.
- It affects the quality of ova and sperm.
Drinking alcohol before getting pregnant is dangerous to both mother and baby so it is most necessary for a woman to quit it by herself or contacting her health care provider. Some points I have mentioned below of why to quit alcohol:
- It increases the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among babies causing serious physical and developmental abnormalities.
- It also causes serious liver problems in woman as it increases the work loads of liver during pregnancy.
Drugs or Other Prescription Medications
These should also be quit before getting pregnant as addiction to illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, crack, crystal meth, marijuana and LSD causes variety of serious problems for both mother and developing fetus.
Stress should be avoided to a great extent by taking proper rest, sleep and relaxation. Having healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, regular sex, regular exercise or yoga helps you a lot in getting relaxed and reduce stress. Make certain to be safe from dangers at workplace and job stress.
Some habits of your partner should also be avoided before planning to get pregnant like drinking alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, using steroids or illegal drugs, other prescription drugs or overuse, using saunas, hot tubs, unhealthy diet as these activities can affect the sperm quality and count.
Never go for unplanned pregnancy in your life as it may lead you and your baby some serious conditions.
High caffeine consumption should be avoided as it decreases fertility level and increases the risk of miscarriage among women. A cup of dilute coffee a day is ok but concentrated coffee should be avoided.
- Avoid infections by regular maintenance of the personal hygiene to prevent you and your baby.
- Avoid taking unpasteurized foods like soft cheese or other dairy products, unpasteurized juices (having salmonella or E. coli), cold deli meats, raw or undercooked fish or poultry and etc as these may lead to the food-borne illnesses which cause miscarriage or stillbirth.
- Practice washing hands properly and frequently before any meals.
Try to keep yourself away from all type of environmental dangers like over expose to chemicals or radiations, pesticides, dust, air and sound pollution, cleaning products, lead in drinking water, solvents, infective pollens grains and etc that causes serious allergy.
Pills and other birth control measures (condom and etc) should be avoided much earlier before getting pregnant by finishing current pack in order to avoid irregular bleedings.