How to Plan your Pregnancy

Babies annoy you no longer, their sudden crying and nappy wetting does not scare you either. You now long to have a child who bothers you once in a while and cheers you up with his big smile. Along with enjoying regular sex with your partner, you also need to consider other things while planning on conceiving.

To seek the right guidance and direction, visit your doctor, rather than subtly questioning close friends and relatives. You will obtain a preconception planning routine from him and a clear picture of things to-do for conceiving a healthy baby. Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and hence it is very important to get yourself in good shape if you are planning a pregnancy.


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Preconception Planning Tips

Depending on your method of contraception, immunizations and your health, it is advisable to start preconception planning a year in advance.

Consult your Doctor for Advise

Your doctor will advise you some preconception tests, and based on the results you will be treated for any conditions that might pose problems during conception or for the health of the baby. Your doctor will also go through a medical checklist where he will advice you on your contraception methods, eating and exercise habits, pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. He will also take cognisance of any genetic conditions that might exist in your family.

  • If you have a history of thyroid problems, the doctor should test yours before you start trying to conceive.
  • Blood pressure tests are important since pregnant women with high blood pressure or hypertension are more likely to develop preeclampsia and have placental disorders.
  • You or your partner may be referred to a genetic counselor for genetic testing if there are possibilities of genetic disorders in the family.
  • A standard pelvic exam of your uterus, cervix and ovaries, fibroids or ovarian cysts and a pap smear test for cervical abnormalities will be conducted. Checking for any sexually transmitted disease like herpes, Chlamydia or HIV will show if you are fit for conception.
  • Blood test for anemia, sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease and thalassemia will also be conducted.
  • Immunization records to check if you have been inoculated for rubella.  Get a tetanus booster and vaccine for hepatitis B.
  • Urinalysis will be suggested to check for UTIs and diabetes.
  • Men should get a sperm-count test done.
  • Parasitic and viral disease tests will determine if you have toxoplasmosis (a disease transmitted through cat feces and undercooked food).

Keep your Weight in Check

Weight management is an important part of your preconception planning. It is important to keep your weight under control before you get pregnant. Being underweight can affect your fertility and make it more difficult to conceive. This can also increase the risk of your baby being underweight. Similarly, being overweight increases your chances of getting diabetes, hypertension, making you prone to infections. This is because many women start gaining too much weight during their reproductive years. Some gain around 40 to 50 pounds during their first pregnancy and lose only half the weight after pregnancy.

With multiple pregnancies, they keep mounting the pounds.  You should get an exercise program in place which includes walking regularly for about 20 to 30 minutes, yoga and breathing exercises.

Eat Right Food

Eat responsibly, now that you are readying your body for child birth. Skip the junk and instead gorge on veggies yum. You need to maintain a healthy diet with more intake of calcium, magnesium and some B group vitamins. Canned fish with bones, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds and lean meats are a good source of iron. Two portions of fish a day will provide essential fatty acids in omega 3. Try and get lean cuts of the meats you like. You should also drink lots of fruit juices and water. A balanced diet will help you lose weight and make your body healthier.

To compliment your healthy food habits, take some healthy supplements as well, so as to prepare your body for pregnancy. You can start by taking a tablet that has about 0.8 milligrams of folic acid. This multivitamin reduces neural tube abnormalities in the brain and spine. You can also take 1200 milligrams of calcium, spread throughout the day. Avoid megavitamins like massive doses of vitamins A, E and antioxidants that have been proved to have negative effects on pregnancy.

Abstain from alcohol if you are readying yourself for pregnancy, because alcohol jeopardizes the development of the young fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome has also been attributed as the main cause of mental retardation. Never opt for commonly used over the counter medicines or antibiotics if you have missed a period, as this could be a sign of pregnancy.

Do your homework!

Check with your husband and your respective families if there have been birth defects or genetic diseases. Inquire with your mother and grandmother if they had problems in conceiving, any miscarriages or stillborn births after middle term of pregnancy. These can be indicators of possible problems you may face.

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