When you are seriously considering having your first baby or expanding your family, there are several key preparations to make well before taking your first pregnancy test. Don’t be surprised if your physician recommends that you start planning for a healthy new baby up to a year before conception. By doing so, you will be optimizing the chances for a smooth pregnancy and be as healthy as possible for your new parenting challenge ahead.
Talk with your OB/GYN
First, meet with your doctor and discuss any medical issues that could play a role in the pregnancy including any current medical conditions, difficult previous pregnancies, your age and your stress level. At this appointment, your gynecologist should perform a thorough pre-pregnancy examination which will include blood pressure, ensuring vaccinations are current, prescribing prenatal vitamins and making adjustments to any prescription medication. You will also discuss your family history and the doctor will order appropriate laboratory tests.
Your partner’s health and lifestyle is also important in the creation of your new baby. Ask him to accompany you on this visit and discuss any of his health or medical issues.
Prioritize your own health and nutrition
Preparing for a pregnancy is an ideal time to focus just on you. Now is the time to commit to achieving a healthy weight, feeding your body healthy food and exercising about five times per week to make your body as strong and fit as possible.
Enjoy plenty of fruits and veggies, making sure you get enough whole grains, lean protein and dairy into your diet. Now is the ideal time to keep processed foods out of your kitchen and out of your body.
Any dependence on tobacco, alcohol or some medications can be significantly detrimental to the baby’s development. Once you are trying to conceive, limit alcohol and avoid caffeinated beverages. Take assertive action to minimize stress as much as possible.
Stop birth control medication
Ovulation is possible as soon as two weeks after you stop taking the pill. You don’t need to take a pill-free break before trying to conceive.
The goal of pregnancy planning is to provide your baby with a safe and healthy environment in which to grow and flourish over the next 10 months. That is more than enough reason to eat a few extra fruits and vegetables, get extra rest and find outlets that offer a sense of peace and serenity.
Finally, take time to enjoy the excitement of preparing for the remarkable process of parenthood. Your life is about to undergo an unprecedented change ─ enjoy the journey.