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What to Do Before Getting Pregnant
to embark on the journey of parenthood is one of the most important and
serious decisions that a person can make. The excitement and
anticipation of impending parenthood can be incredible and, before you
know it, your attention can turn to matters including: baby names,
nursery furniture and maternity dresses.
wants to have a healthy pregnancy that is as uncomplicated as possible
and so it is wise to take a number of actions before becoming pregnant.
Here we take a look at 8 of these:
#1: Have a check-up
to conception, it is a great idea to schedule an appointment with your
doctor or another health professional specialising in maternity care
(for example a midwife or obstetrician). At such a check-up, you can
expect the following areas to be addressed:
- Personal and family medical history
- Current health
- Use of medications
- ‘Unhealthy habits’, such as: smoking, drinking and taking of drugs
- Immunisation status and testing for immunity to diseases including: chicken pox and rubella
check-ups also provide a good opportunity to ask about genetic testing
for particular diseases that may be significant in your family history,
culture or ethnicity.
#2: Folic acid supplement
is important to take a folic acid supplement for at least a month
before conceiving and throughout pregnancy (particularly during the
first trimester) to reduce the likelihood of a baby having neural tube
defects, particularly spina bifida, but other birth defects too.
At least 400 mcg of folic acid should be taken each day.
#3: Avoid smoking, drinking and drugs
chances of sad and unfortunate occurrences, including: miscarriage,
premature birth and low-birthweight babies, can be increased by smoking
and/or taking drugs. It is very important that a person who wants to
have a healthy baby, tries to stop these behaviours and help and support
is available to do so. In any case, significant research shows that use
of tobacco can reduce female fertility and lower the sperm count of a
male and even passive smoking can reduce your likelihood of becoming
can also be problematic when a person is trying to conceive. It is
often recommended that a person cuts back on their alcohol consumption
when trying to become pregnant.
#4: Eat a healthy diet
making nutritious food choices, you are effectively preparing your body
with the nutrients needed to be healthy throughout pregnancy. Eating
plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, foods high in calcium and
varied sources of protein is important.
#5: Limit your caffeine intake
there is some conjecture about the exact level of caffeine that can be
safely consumed during pregnancy, it is widely agreed that women trying
to conceive (as well as pregnant women) should avoid large amounts of
caffeine. A number of sources recommend that pregnant women and those
trying to conceive, limit their consumption of caffeine to about 200
milligrams – or about one cup of coffee – per day.
#6: Healthy weight
is often easier for women in the healthy weight range. Having a Body
Mass Index that is too high or too low can make it significantly more
difficult for some women to conceive.
#7: Think about fish
the benefits of fish that provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty
acids, protein, vitamin D and other nutrients are quite widely
recognised, some types of fish need to be avoided during pregnancy,
because they contain harmful levels of mercury.
is an important part of the diet of a pregnant woman, but fish with
high levels of mercury can be dangerous; guidelines should be followed
in relation to the consumption of safe amounts of fish.
#8: Do your sums
the costs of raising a child can be significant. As well as education,
clothing and health care needs, there are many other costs that are
associated with caring for children.
and childbirth brings expenses all of its own. Many people opt for
private health insurance cover to cover many of the costs of pregnancy
and childbirth, it is useful to do some research to learn of costs
ranging from: a caesarean section (should it be necessary) to pain
relief (such as an epidural) and the costs of ultrasounds and other
scans and tests.
Don’t forget too that throughout your pregnancy you will have to devote some time, money and attention to things such as: maternity clothes, baby products and baby transport systems.
Prior to conception, there are many things that a person can do to prepare for pregnancy.