Preconception Care

Planning on having a baby? Get healthy now to ensure a stress free pregnancy. ‘Preconception care’ involves identifying and reducing social, behavioral and health risks to a woman’s wellbeing before she gets pregnant.

Not just women, but even men need to make lifestyle and health changes before trying to conceive. A couple is required to get in touch with a health care provider who will assess their overall health, fitness levels and lifestyle, to determine if they are ready to plan a baby or not.

While preconception care is useful for just about anyone, it is all the more important if:

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  • One of the partners is affected by chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or epilepsy.
  • The woman is suffering from a history of miscarriages or has had multiple abortions in the past.
  • The couple has been having trouble conceiving.

Preconception Care for Men

Usually women diligently follow preconception care do’s and don’ts. They believe their health before pregnancy could impact their baby’s growth and development. However, even men need to follow preconception care steps in order to improve their partner’s chance of getting pregnant. Given below are tips on preconception care for men:

  • Instead of grabbing that pack of chips when hungry, order a fruit plate. Switch over to a healthy diet by eating well-balanced meals at regular intervals during the day.
  • Shake away the laziness! Get an adequate amount of exercise each day, especially if you are overweight. Skip the smokes and the booze at parties. Smoking and drinking affects sperm quality.
  • Avoid hot showers, saunas, heating pads, electric blankets and tight clothing to keep the testicles cool.

Men who are planning to have a baby soon are advised to speak to their doctors about any medication that they are taking.

Preconception Care for Women

Preconception care for women is obviously very important.

A woman’s health before pregnancy could affect factors such as the ease with which she conceives, complications during pregnancy and the baby’s overall health. While some women conceive as soon as they start trying, others could take up to a year or so. It is, therefore, important for a woman to consult a doctor, as soon as she takes the decision of having a baby. Some of the first tips on preconception care for women suggested by doctors include:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight, because being overweight or underweight could lead to problems in conceiving and may affect the baby adversely.
  • Make a list of all the medication being taken on a regular basis and check if any of them could have a negative impact on a baby or pregnancy.
  • Quit unhealthy practices like drinking alcohol or smoking.
  • Follow a highly nutritious and balanced diet at all times, with 5 to 6 small meals each day.
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep, rest and exercise each day.

Preconception Care Guidelines

Whether you or planning to have a baby shortly or not, if you are within the reproductive age range, can get pregnant and are sexually active, you should follow preconception care guidelines. Several pregnancies today are unplanned, which is why men and women should take the right steps to reduce any risks or complications for future pregnancies.

  • For starters, both the partners should check their family history for any complications during pregnancy. Any family history of conception difficulties should also be told to the health care provider.
  • It is normal for couples to undergo a few tests, to rule out the possibility of any medical conditions or disorders that could have a negative impact on the baby and the pregnancy.
  • Adding pre-natal vitamins and other nutritional supplements to the daily diet may be a good idea for both men and women; these mainly include folic acid, calcium and iron tablets.
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