11 Essential Things To Do Before Getting Pregnant
There are no guarantees when a pregnancy is involved. But clearly, besides the love that creates them, babies come into this world with a drop of random destiny as well.
Table of Contents
- 1 Stop the Contraception!
- 2 Healthy Lifestyle
- 3 Be Smart
- 4 Take Folic Acid & Pay Attention to Vitamin A
- 5 Control your Weight!
- 6 Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes!
- 7 Avoid Medication!
- 8 Avoid Infections!
- 9 Genetic Carrier Screening
- 10 Schedule Yourself a Preconception Visit
- 11 Stress Affects Fertility
Stop the Contraception!
Of course, this seems more than obvious, but it isn`t as clear as it seems. If you are using condoms or a diaphragm of any kind, then it goes without saying what you should do. However, if you used birth control pills, then it`s time to stop when your package is finished to avoid irregular bleeding.
If before using birth control pills (the period between periods was irregular), then by stop using them, it may pass a few months until your period will become regular again. If it passed 6 months and menstruation doesn`t become regular, it`s best to contact a doctor to investigate the cause. Some doctors believe that it`s better to wait a few months after you stop using them until conception.
If you used Depo-Provera shots every 3 months, it will need to pass some time until trying to become pregnant. This period can be between 12 – 18 months, so it`s best to plan ahead.
Make sure you are in good health and that you do a complete investigation at your family doctor and gynecologist. Untreated infections, STDs or other medical conditions may affect your attempts of getting pregnant.
In the case of a long-term treatment, this should be postponed or stopped at least 3 months before conception. So, if you suffer from a serious disease, such as diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure or thyroid problems, you need to consult an obstetrician if you plan to have a baby. He`ll be able to prescribe you another treatment or to stop the exiting one, and at the same time, he`ll keep you under close observation during the entire pregnancy.
Don’t waste time to get pregnant without any results when there are already medical procedures that can help you find out if you are on the right track or not.
- If you have 6 months of regular sexual activity and don`t get pregnant, you may want to test your partner`s sperm. A lot of couples lost years because they didn`t know that sperm wasn`t healthy enough.
- Make sure you know exactly when and if you are ovulating. Irregular cycles raise issues with ovulation which you have to monitor carefully.
- If you have irregular cycles, the calendar method can help you a lot in detecting the fertile days. Instead of choosing random days when doing sex, through this method you at least have some kind of an idea when you have more chances of getting pregnant.
Take Folic Acid & Pay Attention to Vitamin A
Most studies show that folic acid supplements help in removing birth defects (e.g. spina bifida).
The necessary daily dose is of 400mg or 5mg for women with a child who suffers from these malformations or has epilepsy.
These supplements need to be taken 3 months before conceiving or as soon as possible after you found you are pregnant. You can stop taking folic acid 13 weeks after birth.
Women who have a healthy diet don`t need supplements with vitamins, however, it doesn`t hurt to take them anyway. Still, make sure that these supplements don`t contain vitamin A in large amounts. This vitamin is toxic in large amounts for your future baby, as it may cause birth abnormalities.
Control your Weight!
You need to try to reach the proper weight for your height before getting pregnant. If you are a bit fat, you should get rid of those extra kilos and reduce your calories.
Also, a weight that is too low can affect fertility. If necessary, try to add a few extra kilos by following a healthy diet rich in vitamins.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes!
Alcohol in excess can affect the fertility of both partners. More than 1 – 2 glasses per day is associated with difficulties in conceiving. If you are pregnant, alcohol in excess can lead to development issues, abnormalities, mental disability or stillbirth. Small amounts of alcohol (1 – 2 glasses of wine per week) can still be harmful.
Smoking is harmful in preconception and during pregnancy. Smokers are more exposed to miscarriage or premature birth, and newborns may have a lower birth weight. Even an environment where people smoke can be harmful and increases the risk of sudden death in babies.
Before remaining pregnant, physical exercises help in maintaining muscle tone and strength, which is very necessary during pregnancy. Also, they`ll also help you relax and lose weight, in case you needs something like this.
During pregnancy, physical exercises should be done with great care, without abusing them.
There are some toxic medications for the baby, which include: epileptic drugs, vitamin preparations with vitamin A (even those used to treat acne), antibiotics based on chemotherapy drugs.
It`s recommended to avoid any drug during the first trimester of pregnancy (up to the week 10).
Listeriosis is caused by bacteria that can cause miscarriages, stillbirth or fetal diseases, if caught while pregnant. For example, this disease affects almost 30.000 births in the United Kingdom every year. Large amounts of listeriosis have been found in foods.
Because of this, you should avoid unpasteurized milk, pates of meat, fish or vegetables, blue or mold cheese, ice cream cone, cooked chicken, fast foods, salads already prepared.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that normally doesn`t affect humans. Almost 10% from adults can be infected with toxoplasmosis, without them realizing it. If this happens during pregnancy, this can cause miscarriages or fetal congenital abnormalities. Home pets (especially cats) are carriers of toxoplasmosis. Fresh fruits, vegetables or unwashed salads are also potential sources of infection.
Here are a few rules of protection: use gloves when you are gardening and wash your hands afterwards. Ask someone else to clean and take care of the cat and wash all the vegetables and fruits very well before consuming them.
Measles can cause issues while pregnant. It`s recommended to avoid infected people, although it`s less risky if you already had this disease in childhood. If you`ve been in contact with sick people, you can do a blood test to check your immunity.
Genetic Carrier Screening
Your doctor will provide you a genetic carrier screening before trying to become pregnant to check if you or your life partner are carriers of any severe genetic diseases like sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, etc. If you are carriers of such diseases, you future baby may inherit the same diseases.
To find out more about any genetic diseases you may carry, talk to a genetic counselor. He`ll be able to help take a decision regarding your reproductive choices. This is vital for the health of your future baby.
Schedule Yourself a Preconception Visit
Doing this is quite important for your future pregnancy. You don`t really need to have a midwife or doctor yet, but can still give a call to your family doctor to schedule a preconception visit. Your family and personal medical history will be checked up along with your current health and you`ll be asked if you currently take any medication or follow any treatment. There are certain drugs that aren`t safe to take when trying to conceive.
You`ll discuss with your practitioner about your weight and diet, as well as any unhealthy habits you may have. He`ll advise you what physical exercise to do from now on and what foods you should now avoid eating.
Stress Affects Fertility
To all of this, there`s another factor that is pretty hard to control when conceiving or during pregnancy: stress.
When you want a child very badly, you can be stressed and this will affect fertility. Actually, it`s a scientific fact that stress or better said adrenaline (stress substance) influence negatively the quality of sperm such as grabbing the fertilized egg in the uterine wall. So the woman`s body can assimilate the embryo, this needs to cover in a protective chemical layer which is meant to neutralize the reaction of rejection from the woman`s body. The creation of this layer is directly influenced by mood: in the conditions of intense stress, the body is heavily solicited, so it may not assimilate the fertilized egg, leading in the end to a normal menstruation.
In conditions of stress, even the physic of a man can lead to failure of conceiving a child. If stress is very strong, male sexual glands react by boycott.
The burning desire of having a child may sometimes lead to frustration exactly in the most inopportune time. A little before ejaculation, mature sperm mix with the secretion of the prostate. This leads to the release of a reduced number of sperm, and so smaller chances of a successful conception.
Unfortunately, there isn`t a special recipe that could ease the desire and impatience of having a child. However, it`s almost common knowledge that if you try to relax, stress can disappear little by little.