Whether you have been pregnant before, you know someone who has, or you have simply heard a lot about it through books and tv, it is pretty obvious that it is a big deal for your body. After all, this is something that your body doesn’t do every day. People get themselves ready for marathons with diet plans and exercise, but now you are creating a human being.
The importance of getting your body ready to support the life of a baby raises the bar to a whole new level. There are certain things about your body’s current condition that you will want to be sure to address in order to make the necessary adjustments in your life to be prepared to carry a baby.
To do so, schedule a preconception appointment with your doctor about which steps are right for you. You will want to start preparing for this journey with someone who has begun to understand your body and will be with you throughout the process. You should talk most of these things through in your appointment, but this will give you an idea of the changes you will want to make and some preconception planning questions to ask yourself.
Factors to Consider and Questions to Ask Yourself
Are your vaccines current?
If you have not received vaccines for infections such as chickenpox or German measles, these can be very harmful for a baby in the womb. Your doctor will most likely take blood tests to see what vaccinations you may need and determine whether you are immune to any of these infections. This should be done as soon as possible, especially if you are already trying to conceive.
Have you been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition?
If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other chronic medical condition, you will want to be sure you have it under stable control before you get pregnant. Your medications may need to be adjusted for the period of time that you are carrying.
Are you taking any medications or supplements?
Your doctor should be made aware of any type of medicine or supplement you are using, no matter what it is for. The product may not be the best thing for supporting a pregnancy, or adjustments may need to be made to the dose you are currently taking.
How old are you and your partner?
As you get older, you are more at risk for fertility issues. There are also some pregnancy-related complications associated with age that you should be aware of. The age of the father can also have an affect. Your doctor can help you understand what any of these risks might entail.
Have you been pregnant before?
If you have been pregnant before, be sure your doctor is aware of any complications you had, such as: high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, premature birth or birth defects, or a pregnancy requiring c-section. Depending on how things went before, there may be ways to go about things differently this time to lower your risk of such events happening again.
Diet and Lifestyle
While you are pregnant, it is very important to have a healthy and balanced diet. Being aware of these things and getting started on a measured regiment will help you get prepared for the months to come after conception. Though there will be two of you, this does not mean you have to eat for two. If you gain too much weight, this could cause issues later in the pregnancy.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggests that “pregnant women only need an extra 200 calories per day in the last 3 months of their pregnancy.” Up until that point, no extra calories are needed. The foods that you are eating should include plenty of iron, calcium, and folic acid, as a growing baby needs such nutrients from the beginning of conception.
Be wary of certain foods such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon, and trout as these types of fish can contain a small amount of chemicals from pollution. You should also avoid anything with a large amount of vitamin A, listeria (a germ which has been known to cause issues in pregnancy), and limit the amount of caffeine you ingest.
Your doctor will also tell you what vitamins and supplements to start taking. Folic acid tablets are recommended as they “can help with the development of the baby. They can also reduce the risk of having a baby born with a spinal cord problem such as spina bifida.” Vitamin D and iodine are also recommended to prepare for the development of a healthy baby.
As you should already know, tobacco smoke has chemicals in it that are poisonous to you and will travel through your bloodstream and into your baby’s blood. It is recommended that if you and/or your partner smoke, you should stop. Smoking creates a risk for miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, a baby born with low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, and a baby born with other abnormalities such as cleft lip or palate. Don’t put it off, make it easier for yourself and quit now.
Speak To Your Doctor
Your general practitioner can provide you with extended information on the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle you should start making to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Visiting with them will get you off to a good start and provide you with the awareness and tools you will need moving forward. If you do not currently have a doctor, there are a great many options out there.
You want to be sure you feel good about your relationship with your healthcare provider , so don’t waste anytime. A trustworthy doctor and organized plan will help you achieve the smoothest and healthiest pregnancy possible. It is important that you feel ready and taken care of, and that is what a good health provider is there to do.