Pregnancy Preparation Guide – What To Do When Trying To Conceive
Last updated on August 8th, 2016
The ideal time to start working for a healthy pregnancy is well before the baby is conceived. If you are planning to have a baby, you need to make drastic changes in your lifestyle in order to ensure optimal health of the baby as well as the mother. Following is your complete pregnancy preparation guide to make this taxing journey easy for you. Read on!
Age matters a lot when it comes to pregnancy. The ideal time to get pregnant is during the twenties. As the age advances into the 30s, the chances of conceiving decrease. After crossing the threshold of 40, the odds of birth defects increase. Time your pregnancy wisely.
Say No to the Pill
It goes without saying that once you plan to have a baby, you need to stop taking the contraceptive pills. Normal ovulation usually returns within two weeks of stopping the pills. Other contraceptive methods like the patches or the vaginal rings take longer. These contraceptive measures must be ceased well in advance.
In order to maximize the chances of getting pregnant, go for intercourse at the time of ovulation which is the time of peak fertility. Normally, ovulation occurs 14 days after the first day of menstruation.
There are three things that matter the most while heading into pregnancy-diet, diet and diet. Start consuming healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Grains, lean proteins and dairy products are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Cut down the consumption of sugar and fat loaded foods.
Limit the amount of fish that you eat. Certain types of fish like tilefish should be avoided owing to their high mercury content. Your diet has a drastic effect on the impending pregnancy so you need to watch every morsel that you put in your mouth.
Cut the Caffeine Out
If you are a coffee freak, you need to decrease your intake of caffeine to about 200 milligrams per day since too much caffeine can turn out to be harmful.
Fix Your Folate Levels
Folic acid or Folate is one of the most important vitamins that you need while planning pregnancy. Deficiency of Folate is very common is and is the frequent cause of birth defects like spinal deformities in newborn babies. This is why all women planning to get pregnant are advised to take at least 400 milligrams of Folate on a daily basis. Dietary sources of Folate include green leafies, citrus fruits, cereals, whole grains etc.
Avoid alcohol at all costs starting from the time you plan to conceive since even a little amount of alcohol can have detrimental effects on the baby.
Smoking adversely affects the pregnancy so stop smoking well before pregnancy. Smoking is one of the common causes of reduced fertility in women and might delay conception. Besides, smoking can cause babies to have low birth weight. They may also be born prematurely.
Optimize Your Weight
Talk to the obstetrician about the ideal weight needed for the pregnancy according to your stature and start losing or gaining weight accordingly if you are overweight or underweight respectively.
Research has shown that adopting an active lifestyle has beneficial effects on the health of the mother as well as the baby. Light exercise (don’t strain yourself!) done regularly even before pregnancy starts, can prove to be quite effective.
Don’t Put Your Back into It
If certain sort of chores demand extra exertion, don’t try to prove yourself a heavy weight champion and let others do the task for you.
Stress has detrimental effects on the health of the unborn baby which is why you need to go into your pregnancy with a peaceful state of mind. Remove the negativity from your life and try to stay positive.
Get Those Shots
If you haven’t already been vaccinated for certain diseases like flu, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria etc., now is the time to get them done. Some of the vaccines for these diseases are composed of weakened strains of living organisms so they need to be done at least three months prior to getting pregnant.
Stay Clear Of All Medicines
If you are taking any sort of drugs and medications, even if they are over-the-counter ones, Ayurvedic, herbal medicines or supplements, stop taking them and consult your doctor about the safety of each one during pregnancy. Take only those medicines for which the doctor gives you the go ahead.
Ensure Safety at Work
If the nature of your job (like working at a hospital or a laboratory) puts you at risk of radiation exposure, chemical exposure, prolonged standing etc. address these issues well within time. Talk to your employer and adopt safety measures.
Visit the Obstetrician
Despite the fact that you’ll find yourself sitting across your obstetrician quite frequently once you get pregnant, pay a visit to the obstetrician before you get pregnant. This is to ensure that you don’t have any major health concerns like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, thyroid problems etc. and if you do, what should be done to control these conditions. Your obstetrician will also address your previous gynecological history and any problems that you might have encountered during the previous pregnancy.
Pregnancy is not an easy journey but with proper precautionary measures and changes, you can ensure a healthy pregnancy with favorable health outcomes both for the mother and the baby.