Trying to have a baby? Here’s your checklist
Trying to have a baby? Or just thinking about it?
There’s a lot that goes into getting pregnant and the preparation might as well start now. This is because your health prior to conception plays an important role in determining how soon you may conceive, how healthy your pregnancy would be, and the even the health of the baby ahead.
Every woman’s body is different and the time to get ready for pregnancy may vary. So, whether this will be your first baby or second, start upon the following steps towards a healthy, happy pregnancy:
Visit Your Doctor
Your gynaecologist is the best person to meet as soon as you start thinking about getting pregnant. This is your time to take a status quo of your medical history, any current conditions and things you can do to boost your preconception health. For example, if you are on certain medications, it now becomes important to know what’s safe in case you do conceive, and what changes in prescription you might need ahead.
Get Started on Daily Folic Acid Supplements
Folate is essential in the first few weeks of pregnancy as it reduces the baby’s risk of developing spinal bifida and other neural tube defects.
Considering that if you do conceive, it could be two weeks or more before you realise you are pregnant – a time of critical growth for the newly formed embryo.
Thus, you would want to make sure that your body is already getting its required 400 mcg of folic acid daily. It is said that a woman must start the supplement at least a month in advance of planning conception.
Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs are a Complete No
If you are a smoker who has been finding it really tough to quit, let pregnancy be your biggest motivator. This is so because smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature baby, a baby with low birth weight and other health problems. Ditto for alcohol and other substance abuse.
Join a support group, seek help from family or a trusted friend or visit a doctor to help you kick these habits. Click here to join Credihealth’s New Moms Club.
Burn Those Extra Kilos or Add a Few
Being in prime preconception health also means achieving a healthy weight range. This means healthy lifestyle changes in form of eating and physical activity. Not only does this increase your chances of conceiving quickly but it also reduces the risk of various pregnancy complications like diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Steer Clear of Toxins and Environmental Contaminants
Both at work and home, there are seemingly harmless sources of contaminants that can affect your reproductive health and that of your partner’s too. Protect yourself from exposure to common toxins like pesticides in foods, bug sprays, synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, metals, cat faeces, etc.
Get Chronic Conditions Under Control
If you are under treatment for conditions like diabetes or blood pressure, it is important these are stabilised before conception. This also means you must collect your family’s medical history and discuss any chronic conditions you might be at risk for. Based on your family history, you may be recommended genetic counselling to help you understand the various probabilities.
Boost Your Immunity
Your vaccinations must be up-to-date before conception, as certain diseases like rubella and varicella can cause birth defects if your immune status is low. Also, certain vaccinations cannot be given to a pregnant woman, so it is best to get them now. You will most likely have to wait three months before trying to conceive.
Decode Your Fertile Period
Understand your menstrual cycle and figure out your approximate ovulation date, which is the best time to conceive. Miss it, and you will be trying another month. Consult your doctor in case you have irregular periods.
Lastly, Don’t Get Disheartened
You might get lucky and conceive on the first try, or you might take few months. As a general rule, doctors do not intervene unless you have been trying for a year without success. So, take heart and enjoy the process for a beautiful tomorrow.
Best Gynaecologists in India
Image courtesy of [ambro] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Planning for Pregnancy,”CDC.gov, http://www.cdc.gov/preconception/planning.html
“Preparing for Pregnancy,” GHC.org, http://www.ghc.org/healthAndWellness/?item=/common/healthAndWellness/pregnancy/pregnancy/prepare.html
“Planning to Become Pregnant,” Patient.co.uk, http://www.patient.co.uk/health/planning-to-become-pregnant
“Planning your pregnancy,” NHS.uk, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/planning-pregnancy.aspx