Your Pre-Pregnancy Checklist: What to do Before you Try to Conceive
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A healthy pregnancy ensures a healthy baby. Planning to start a family and getting pregnant requires some important steps for a better pregnancy experience. Preconception care focuses on the things that you must do before the pregnancy or even during the pregnancy. This pre-pregnancy health care increases the chances of a healthy baby.
Everybody behaves differently during pregnancy, so preparing the body before conception requires different times for different women. Some females prepare themselves quickly, while in some females, this process can take some time.
Following are certain important things to do before you try to conceive for a healthy baby and better pregnancy experience:
1. Make a Pregnancy Plan:
Make a pregnancy plan before you conceive. The plan includes all the goals you want to achieve about having a child. If you have not written them before, it is time to write your goals and achievements regarding family and children.
Try to learn all the basics of ovulation and conception. Evaluate your financial budget, baby budget, and health insurance. These are the preliminary things you should consider before conceiving.
2. Make an Appointment with your Doctor:
Talking to your health care professional or doctor about pregnancy before trying to conceive is always a good idea. During and after pregnancy are the periods in which you would be seeing your doctor plenty of times, but a pre-pregnancy visit to your doctor is of utmost importance.
This preconception visit includes the full medical checkup of both partners. Your doctor might advise you to undergo some medical tests and other vaccinations that are required. It is essential to update your vaccines because certain vaccines can be injected during pregnancy.
In addition to this, doctors will take your family medical history as well to rule out any medical condition that can affect the pregnancy. Doctors guide you better about planning a pregnancy. If you are using contraceptive pills, discuss this with the health care professional and take advice before quitting them.
Talk to your doctor if you are suffering from any systemic disease such as high blood pressure, chronic disease, diabetes, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
3. Visit a Dentist:
Healthy pregnancy has a strong connection with good oral health. Dental problems are associated with certain conditions such as low birth weight and preterm delivery. Take all the necessary medications and treatment if required before you conceive. Tackling any dental problem and visiting your dentist is recommended.
4. Track Your Menstrual Cycle:
A super familiarity with your menstrual cycle is necessary if you want to know about the best time of getting pregnant. The basic thing is to know when your body ovulates.
Record your cycle if you are doing it before. Mark your cycle’s starting and ending dates and note the other symptoms, such as tenderness of breasts and cramps. Also, look for the other signs of a healthy fertility cycle. These signs include the elevation of basal body temperature, and the cervical mucus is clear and stretchy. You can take help from an online mobile app if it appears to be daunting.
5. Maintain a balanced and healthy diet:
A varied and well-balanced diet of vegetables and fruits helps maintain a shape of your body that is suitable for pregnancy. Cut out all the junk food. Plenty of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and vegetables is essential in your diet.
Healthy eating saves you from gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that affects pregnant females.
6. Manage Your Body Weight:
Weight plays a vital role in the conception and preservation of the pregnancy. Actually, weight is one of the 10 factors that can affect fertility. Both the conditions of being underweight and overweight can affect the conception chances. Plan to get the ideal weight according to Body Mass Index (BMI).
A healthy weight is not only important in pregnancy, but it also covers your whole life. Maintaining a healthy weight does not include any short-term changes in the diet. Rather it is a complete lifestyle of having healthy food and adequate physical exercise and activities.
An overweight body tends to suffer from certain systemic conditions such as high blood pressure during pregnancy. An important thing to be kept in mind is that losing weight while you are pregnant is not a good idea as it can affect the growth of the baby. Plan to shed some pounds and burn some calories before you try to conceive.
7. Take Folic Acid:
Folic acid, along with other vitamins, is very effective in developing embryo and fetus health. Natural sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables. Moreover, fortified rice and flour also count as folic acid supplements. Folic acid lowers the risks of birth defects, especially in the brain and spinal cord, such as cleft palate or lips.
The experts and doctors recommend the use of 400mg of folic acid three months before conception and then continuing the intake of this supplement during the pregnancy. Consultation before using any vitamins and supplements is, however, necessary.
8. Quit Smoking and Alcohol:
Alcohol consumption and smoking are not only injurious to health but can also affect the development of a baby. In addition to this, these things also affect the ability to conceive and the chances of miscarriage can go higher.
Try to quit before you are planning to get pregnant. Talk to your health care provider in case you are facing a hard time quitting such habits.
9. Limit Caffeine Intake:
A high intake of caffeine alters normal body functions, reduces conception ability, and increases the risk of miscarriages. Limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg per day.
Furthermore, try to shift from caffeine to decaf and save yourself from the caffeine cravings. Other sources of caffeine are chocolate, tea, a few energy drinks, and soft drinks.
10. Get adequate and regular exercise:
A healthy lifestyle that includes adequate physical activities and a regular dose of exercise can help you in so many ways you cannot even imagine. It will help in bringing positive energy, an active body, and a fresh mind. Not only this, but it will also shape your body in such a way that is suitable for delivery and labor.
11. Talk to your partner about parenting:
Before you initiate trying to get pregnant, it is recommended to have a parenting discussion with your partner regarding childcare, upbringing, religion, traditions, staying home, working, and other related things.
Talk your heart out about all the fears, expectations, and priorities you have in your mind throughout the whole journey of having a child. It will help you figure out all the things that come in your way, and it will provide you support and a sense of protection before you get pregnant.
12. Know about your family history (genetic) for birth defects:
If you have a positive family history (brother, sister, uncle, aunt) of any kind of birth defect or other genetic medical conditions then, you are at higher risk of suffering from that situation as well.
In your preconception appointment, tell your doctor or health care provider about the history. They will refer you to genetic specialists, and you may go through several testing or screening before getting pregnant.
13. Make a good sleeping habit and stay stress-free:
Mental health is crucial in maintaining a healthy pregnancy and for the better growth of a baby. Moreover, it will affect the conception process as well. Try to keep yourself calm and free from any stress.
Stress can have a direct effect on your relationship with your partner and can reduce your sex drive. This thing can affect the conception process as well. Make a habit of doing stress management techniques such as meditation and yoga.
In addition to this, a night of good sleep is also effective in keeping the body active and helps in pregnancy. Take a proper and enough sleep every night.
14. Ponder upon the changes that pregnancy will bring:
Starting a family will have a huge effect on every aspect of your life. These include your career, your lifestyle, your work, your job, your priorities, finances, and your relationship with others and with your partner as well. The pregnancy period of nine months is not a very long time to figure out all these things.
Be ready for this, and it is recommended to talk to your doctor about the whole situation to advise you better. Moreover, read books and watch movies on child management and parenting to broaden your view.
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