It is never too early to start getting ready for pregnancy if you are trying to have a baby or maybe you are just thinking about it. An instrumental part of preconception health and health care is focusing on things that can be done before and between pregnancies. This will increase your chances of having a healthy baby before you become pregnant. It may take a few months for some people to get their bodies ready for pregnancy, and for others it may take a few weeks. Others might take longer. In order for you to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, you should take the following steps regardless of whether this is your first, second, or nth child.
1. Make a plan and Take Action
Whether or not you’ve written them down, you’ve probably thought about your goals for having a child or not having a child. You’ve also probably thought about how you can achieve those goals regardless of whether you’ve written them down. As an example, when you did not wish to have a child, you used effective birth control methods in order to achieve your goals. When you’re considering getting pregnant, it’s really important to take steps to achieve your goal -being pregnant and having a healthy baby!
2. See Your Doctor
Before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about preconception health care. If you have any medical conditions that can affect a pregnancy, your doctor will want to discuss them with you along with your health history. If you have had previous pregnancy problems, if you are taking medications, and if you need vaccinations, they may want to discuss these.
Take a list of talking points so you don’t forget anything. Talk to your doctor about:
Make sure that any medical conditions you have are under control and being treated. Among these conditions are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases.
Lifestyle and behaviors
Consult your doctor or another health professional if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use certain drugs, reside in a stressful or abusive environment, or work with or live around toxic substances. Therapy, counseling, and other support services can be provided by health care professionals.
Most pregnant women will have to make a decision about whether or not to take certain medications before and during pregnancy. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication. Please make sure that you discuss the following with your healthcare provider:
- The medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins, should be listed in your medical record
- How to keep any health conditions you have under control in the best possible way
- Your own personal goals and preferences when it comes to your baby’s health as well as your own
It is recommended that some vaccinations be given before you become pregnant, during your pregnancy, or right after delivery. The right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you healthy and help keep your baby healthy, preventing them from getting sick or having health problems that will last a lifetime.
3. Take 400 micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day
Among the B vitamins, folic acid is one of the most important. To prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida), all women who can become pregnant should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day.
4. Stop Drinking Alcohol, Smoking, and Using Certain Drugs
In pregnancy, smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain drugs can cause premature births, birth defects, and infant deaths.
Talk to your healthcare provider or a local alcohol treatment center if you cannot stop drinking, smoking, or using drugs while trying to get pregnant.
5. Avoid toxic substances and environmental contaminants
Be sure to avoid harmful chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances such as synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces at home and at work. Both men and women may be adversely affected by these substances. Pregnancy may be more difficult as a result of these factors. Even small amounts of exposure during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, or puberty can cause disease. Protect yourself and your loved ones from toxic substances at work and at home.
6. Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for many serious conditions, including complications during pregnancy, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer (endometrial, breast, and colon). A person who is underweight is also at risk of serious health problems.
In order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you cannot make short-term changes to your diet. A healthy lifestyle includes regular physical activity and healthy eating.
Talk to your doctor about ways to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before becoming pregnant if you are underweight, overweight, or obese.
7. Learn Your Family History
It is critical to collect the health history of your family in order to ensure the health of your child. It may not occur to you that your sister’s heart defect or your cousin’s sickle cell disease may affect your child. However, sharing this information with your doctor is crucial.
There are several reasons why people seek genetic counseling, including having experienced several miscarriages, infant deaths, trouble getting pregnant (infertility), or developing a genetic condition or birth defect during a previous pregnancy.
8. Get mentally healthy
A person’s mental health is reflected in how they think, feel, and act as they cope with life’s challenges. A person must feel positive about themselves and value themselves in order to be at their best. It is common for people to feel anxious, stressed, sad, or worried at times. However, if these feelings persist and interfere with your day-to-day activities, you should seek professional assistance. Discuss your feelings and treatment options with your doctor or another health professional.