THINGS TO DO BEFORE GETTING PREGNANT
Pregnancy is a big milestone for every woman and especially for those that have been trying for a baby for a while. Throughout a pregnancy a woman is given all kinds of advice but much less is given before getting pregnant.
There are a lot of things that you need to know and practice before the pregnancy. These tips will improve your chances of getting pregnant and reduce the possibility of birth defects in your baby.
1. Get checked
Pregnancy takes a lot from your body so getting a thorough checkup will let you know whether you are ready to carry a babyor not. The doctor can also check for other conditions that could be passed on to the child.
2. Stop birth control
The pills and implants have no more use at this stage. Ditch them early enough to give your hormones and cycle time to get back to normal. It may take a while for some but one can usually conceive as soon as they are off the contraceptives.
3. Study your cycle
You can only get pregnant at certain times of the month. Getting to know when this is will help you plan when to have sex so that you conceive. Yu can use a fertility calculator or use natural methods like checking your basal body temperature and the consistency of your cervical mucus.
4. Start on folic acid
Folic acid and vitamin A are very important for the baby’s growth. Starting them early enough will prevent birth defects like spina bifida in your child. You can get these from a drugstore but make sure that you get the right dosage.
5. Quit smoking and alcohol
Smoking, alcohol and all kinds of drugs should be stopped before you get pregnant because they can cause serious birth defects in your child, low birth weight, premature birth, and miscarriage and make conception difficult. It is not an easy process and you might need a little assistance to stop.
This applies to both the man and woman because research has shown that smoking and drinking affect the quality of sperms as well as the sperm count in men. Secondhand smoke can also affect conception so if the man continues smoking he affects the woman’s fertility as well.
6. Quit coffee
This may be a bit of a grey area but some studies have found a connection between too much caffeine and the risk of miscarriage. It has also been found to affect fertility. The recommendation from March of Dimes is 200 milligrams a day, which is about a cup of coffee.
7. Weight check
A healthy weight will make it easier for you to conceive. A BMI (Body Mass Index) lower than 20 or higher than 24 may negatively affect your fertility. Depending on your current weight you might need to add or lose some weight for you to be within the above range.
Exercise gets your blood flowing and your body healthier. It sets the stage for a healthy pregnancy and a smooth birth as well. It will also help relieve stress. You can start with a walk, yoga or swimming and continue building up on it, unless your doctor says you can’t exercise. You can continue the regime even when you conceive.
9. Change your diet
Eating healthy provides your body with the nutrients it needs for conception and carrying a baby. You will need foods rich in calcium, iron and nutrients like vitamin A. Fish is good for you at this stage because it contains omega-3 but be careful not to consume fish with high mercury content.
10. Check your financials
Babies are a blessing and are cute but they are expensive to maintain. It would be good to have some money set aside to cater for prenatal appointments and the baby’s needs once they come.