Preconception Planning Tips
Submitted by Jenifer on December 20, 2013
A common misconception is that it’s the woman’s responsibility to maintain good health both before and after conception but studies show that preconception planning is as much a male prerogative. If you are planning for a baby, keep in mind that there are a number of things both partners can do to increase the chances of conception and a health pregnancy.
Pregnancy And Baby Care Questions
In order to reduce the risk of infertility and certain birth defects, certain habits have to be formed by both partners way before actual conception takes place. Let’s have a look at what both partners can do to be in the best possible physical condition to ensure conception.
The first step in getting pregnant is a visit to your doctor.
Both partners should ideally have a thorough medical check up to rule out any pre-existing medical conditions that may hamper conception or a healthy pregnancy. Treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol that may affect conception can help manage these conditions and prevent an escalation of health problems.
Before getting pregnant, it may also be prudent to clean out your medicine cabinet. Research indicates that there are a number of prescription medications that can affect male fertility such as drugs used to treat gastrointestinal or urinary tract infections or certain steroids. Other medications such as herbal supplements or diet pills have also been linked with serious birth defects. It is important that you inform your doctor of all medications or supplements to make sure that you are having only those treatments that are absolutely necessary.
According the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, your work place can affect your fertility. If you work in an environment that exposes you to certain chemicals, pesticides, or radiation, it increases the risk of lower sperm production or miscarriages. Toxic substances found at home such as metals, fertilizers and bug killers can also affect the reproductive systems of men and women.
Your diet plays a huge role in your health and fertility. Both partners should aim for a healthy balanced diet that is high in zinc and selenium to aid fertility. Processed foods, foods high in saturated fats and sugars and food products that contain preservatives, artificial colors and additives all contribute towards higher toxin levels in the body and may result in infertility. It is also recommended that the woman take up to 400mg of folic acid daily both before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Obesity can increase the risk of infertility as well as complications during pregnancy. It is important for both partners to maintain a healthy body weight before conception. That said, being underweight could affect fertility as well so make sure a healthy balance is reached.
Needless to say, alcohol, drugs and tobacco should be avoided for several months before planning for a pregnancy. Too much alcohol or drug use can affect sperm quality and increase the chance of miscarriage or birth defects. If you or your partner is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, speak to your doctor about counseling and treatment prior to your pregnancy.
Investigate your family history before planning a baby as pre-existing medical conditions and genetic conditions can affect your baby. You could also opt for genetic counseling to assess your risk for infertility, miscarriage, birth defects or infant birth. Remember, knowledge in such situations is power and knowing what the risks are can give you and your partner the information you require to make an informed decision.
Preconception health and care should begin well before actual conception takes place. Keep in mind that for some women, getting their body ready for a baby may take a few months while for others it could take a year or too. Whether you are planning your first baby or your third, it’s never too early to start laying the foundation for a risk-free pregnancy and a healthy baby.
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