How To Prepare Yourself For Pregnancy

Taking Care Of Your Dental Health Before Conception

Preparing for Pregnancy | Stephen B. Mooney, MD

A preconception dental appointment gives you time to get any dental problems fixed . While it’s safe with the right precautions to have most dental procedures done during pregnancy, it’s definitely smart to have that work behind you before sperm meets egg.

Before you get pregnant is the best time to get your gums in good shape, too, since there is a link between uncontrolled periodontal disease and pregnancy complications such as premature labor.

Schedule A Preconception Checkup

Even if youre relatively healthy and feel that youre ready for pregnancy, its still important to have a preconception checkup.

In addition to discussing your personal and family health histories and current health status, well review any medications or supplements youre taking, discuss your lifestyle and habits, and make sure youre caught up on vaccinations.

If you havent had a well-woman exam within the past year, you can also expect to have a pelvic exam and Pap smear, and be tested for STDs if youre at risk.

Quitting Smoking When Preparing For Conception

You’ve very likely heard by now that smoking while pregnant is not only dangerous for you, it’s dangerous for your developing baby. But research shows that lighting up also hampers your attempts to make a baby in the first place.

Quitting smoking has an instantly positive impact on your health and fertility. Some research has found that women who quit smoking before assisted fertility treatments were just as likely to get pregnant as non-smokers. In fact, the rate of pregnancy complications due to smoking decreases the longer a person has not smoked, says the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.Trusted SourceAmerican Society for Reproductive MedicineSmoking and InfertilitySee All Sources

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What about vaping? “Although vaping is a relatively new, studies have shown the flavours used appear to harm sperm, with bubblegum and cinnamon flavours having the most impact.”

You should also try to minimise alcohol and caffeine intake as these will impact your fertility. As Dr Tim Child explains: “Research hasnt yet found a strong link between moderate alcohol intake and infertility, although heavier drinking is associated with a decrease in fertility, particularly in men. So, at a time when everyone seems to be telling you to stop everything, if a glass of wine helps you to relax and importantly spend quality time with your partner then go aheadbut keep it in moderation.”

It should go without saying that recreational drugs should be completely avoided. For some people, trying to conceive can be stressful but this wont help you to get pregnant, so try to keep relaxed when you can. Maybe look at your job and how much stress this causes, start to do a little meditation or yoga which can help you focus on your breathing and being in the here and now, and generally look after your mental health.

What other vitamins and supplements are important?The Department of Health does suggest taking a vitamin D supplement when you are pregnant. If you are eating a well-balanced diet then there shouldnt be a need to take any extra supplements.

What Else Should We Be Thinking About

12 Effective Tips To Prepare For Conception

Kate Pleace says it’s essential to start saving if you’re considering welcoming a child. “There is lots to pay for during pregnancy and beyond, from bigger clothes to buggies, so having a pot of savings may come in handy,” she said. Kate adds that parenting talk is also essential as it is important to talk to your partner about a variety of parenting issues from the practicalities of sharing childcare to religious views.

Am I pregnant?There are many signs that you could be pregnant, from sensitive breasts to feeling sick, needing to have a wee more often or being more tired than usual. However, only a pregnancy test will confirm if you are pregnant, followed up by an early pregnancy scan, typically around 7 weeks.

My pregnancy test shows positive. What next?First of all, congratulations. Dr Geetha Venkat then suggests you book an appointment with your GP. They will confirm the pregnancy then arrange for you to see a midwife, scans are booked and a care plan is put in place. “Do make sure you continue to keep relaxed and look after yourself and your baby,” she adds.

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Reach A Healthy Weight

Your weight can impact your ability to conceive, so talk to your doctor or dietitian to learn about proper calorie intake, exercise and other healthy habits as you try to conceive.

If youre underweight

Some people who are underweight, especially those with eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia, may not ovulate or may have irregular periods.

Even those who are underweight without eating disorders can have issues that relate to ovulation, cycle management, implantation of pregnancy and preterm delivery once they do become pregnant, Dr. Mooney says.

If youre overweight

Obesity, too, can affect your menstrual cycle, including the quality of your eggs. And people who are who are overweight are at higher risk for:

  • Gestational diabetes.

I encourage patients with obesity to first try to maintain their weight, and then we can get a plan in place to begin to lose weight, Dr. Mooney recommends. Start slow, with just five pounds, then 10 or 12, and well go from there.

Up Your Vitamins And Veggies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses “MyPlate” to recommend balanced meals made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. So, evaluate how your nutrition aligns with these recommendations and make adjustments to include more of the food groups you might be lacking. In addition, some health care providers recommend taking a prenatal vitamin when you start trying to conceive.

One of the most critical ingredients in your multivitamin supplement is folate or folic acid. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends taking a vitamin that includes 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida in babies.

However, if you previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, they recommend approximately 10 times that amount, or 4 milligrams , starting three months before pregnancy. So, talk to your health care provider to ensure you take the right amount for you.

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Your Medications Supplements And Vaccines

At your Preconception Visit, your OBGYN will discuss your current medications, including any over the counter supplements youre taking. Some over-the-counter medications may not be safe to take while pregnant. Read more about the safety of these types of medications in pregnancy.

If you are using any prescription medications, you should talk with your OBGYN to determine if they are safe to continue in pregnancy or if there are safe alternatives. Always talk to your doctor before quitting or reducing any of your prescriptions.

Your OBGYN will also verify if your vaccines are up to date. Some vaccines can be given during pregnancy, like the flu shot and Tdap vaccine, but others cannot.

Youll also talk about supplements. We always recommend that any woman who is not preventing pregnancy begin taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Make sure you give your OBGYN a list of any other supplements, vitamins, and herbs you take. Some of these supplements may make getting pregnant more challenging and others may not be safe for pregnancy.

Start Taking A Prenatal Multivitamin

How to prepare your body for pregnancy || HealthifyMe

Many women wonder when to start taking prenatal vitamins. Once you know youre pregnant? Before? The first few weeks of pregnancy are important for fetal health and development. Certain vitamins especially folic acid help with development and help reduce birth defects.

When you do conceive, the earliest you may find out youre pregnant is around Week 4. So if youre planning for pregnancy starting prenatal vitamins before youre pregnant is important.

There are plenty of prenatal multivitamin brands to choose from just make sure you read the labels. Look for prenatal vitamins that have a minimum of 400 milligrams of folic acid and aim to take them for a full month before becoming pregnant.

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Cut Your Alcohol Intake

Moderate drinking, or having one alcoholic drink per day, is generally considered fine when youre trying to conceive, but you should avoid excessive drinking. You shouldnt drink at all when youre pregnant or might be pregnant, as even the smallest amount of alcohol may pose health risks for your growing baby.

Scale Back On Caffeine

You dont have to give up your a.m. coffee when youre trying to get pregnant. But if you typically have a few morning mugs, you might want to cut down.

Having 500 milligrams or more of caffeine per day the equivalent of five or six cups of coffee has been shown to have an impact on fertility and miscarriage, Dr. Mooney says.

Try limiting yourself to no more than two caffeinated beverages per day when youre trying to conceive.

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Preparing For Your Next Pregnancy

If you are planning to become pregnant, taking certain steps can help reduce risks to both you and your baby. Proper health before deciding to become pregnant is almost as important as maintaining a healthy body during pregnancy.

The first few weeks are important to a childs development. However, many women dont realize they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. Taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

One of the most important steps in preparing for a healthy pregnancy is to get a preconception exam. The exam is done by your healthcare provider before you become pregnant. During that visit, your overall health will be checked. Your healthcare provider will let you know of any possible risk factors that may make pregnancy difficult. You can also get advice and treatment for medical problems that may be changed by pregnancy. These include health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. By preparing in advance, you can be your healthiest before becoming pregnant. A preconception exam may include:

  • Update your vaccines. Make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines or shots. Your healthcare provider may want to check your immunity to rubella or German measles. Getting this disease during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or birth defects. If you are not immune, a vaccine may be given one month before conception to provide immunity. Most vaccines should not be given during pregnancy.

  • Day 1: Quit Tobacco Alcohol And Drugs

    10 Ways to Optimize Your Lifestyle for Fertility

    Smoking, using drugs, and drinking alcohol can harm an unborn baby in a number of ways. Smoking exposes your baby to harmful chemicals, restricts blood flow, and may even cause preterm labor.

    Drinking puts baby at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome . Using drugs is not only illegal, but it also may cause birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

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    Consider Meeting With A Genetic Counselor

    If you have any concerns about your chances of having a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect, you might want to meet with a genetic counselor while you’re preparing for pregnancy.

    A genetic counselor can help you decide if there’s cause for concern and which screening tests might be helpful for you at this point and in the future.

    For example, even before you conceive, genetic carrier screening can help you find out whether you or your partner is a carrier for serious inherited illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs or sickle cell disease. All it takes is a saliva or blood sample from each of you, and it’s covered by most health insurance policies.

    If both parents carry a recessive gene for a disorder, their child will have a 1-in-4 chance of having the gene and getting the disorder and a 1-in-2 chance of being a carrier of the disorder. If one parent is a carrier, there’s a 1-in-2 chance that the child will also be a carrier of the disorder.

    Your Diet And Activity Levels

    Eating a healthy and balanced diet and getting regular exercise is always important for optimized health. When youre pregnant, its even more important, as your diet and activity levels play an important role in a healthy pregnancy and newborn. Prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy by establishing good habits now.

    A balanced diet means youre getting your nutrition and energy from whole food sources in a variety of colors, limiting processed, sugary foods, and making sure you have an adequate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If youre having a hard time finding good sources for healthy recipes and meal plans, or if you have specific dietary concerns or restrictions, your OBGYN may recommend you speak with a Registered Dietitian or nutritionist. Read more about food during pregnancy.

    Exercise is important as well. Its recommended that you exercise 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week before youre pregnant, during your pregnancy, and after. Dont overdo it, however, as excessive exercise can also be harmful. Discuss your activity levels with your OBGYN to see if you might need to make any adjustments to your activities.

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    Reducing Stress Before Conception

    Juggling all the normal stresses of modern living with the happy but huge intent of getting pregnant is enough to get anyone feeling anxious. And unfortunately, stress can hamper pregnancy plans. It can delay ovulation and increase the frequency of uterine contractions, which can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

    Your plan? Find some stress management techniques that you enjoy, and work them into your routine on a regular basis. Whether it’s journaling before breakfast, hitting a yoga class on the weekends or taking a bubble bath before bed, you’ll feel more relaxed.

    Build A Support System:

    How To Get Pregnant

    Studies show that a strong support system has a positive impact on postpartum health and may even reduce your risk of preterm birth. This could be family members, your partner, women in a prenatal yoga class, or even a psychologist.

    While you may be tempted to join pregnancy groups online or start participating in message boards, these can quickly become dark holes of anxiety, ill-advised information and unwanted judgment. Our advice: they CAN be great, but tread carefully.

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    How Does Pregnancy Affect Mental Health

    Indeed, pregnancy is a blessing from the universe however it is an exciting and challenging phase for everyone at the same time. Sometimes, you might feel blessed about growing a little world inside, and sometimes, you might get emotional too! It is completely a roller-coaster ride.

    Meanwhile, it is completely okay to feel that way, it is okay to have fears and worries about your pregnancy and your baby, and it is also okay to feel stressed about your pregnancy. Do you know why? Because your body goes through a major change for which you cannot prepare yourself mentally.

    Pregnancy is stressful because we have to deal with various physical and hormonal changes especially when we have experienced something bad like miscarriage, unplanned pregnancy, and more. This is why pregnancy comes with an increased probability of experiencing or developing mental health issues.

    Like, for me, it was an unplanned pregnancy, I was not prepared for it, which directly impacted my mental health for months. To understand this, let us read about some mental health conditions related to pregnancy.

    Keep To A Healthy Weight

    If you’re overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant and fertility treatment is less likely to work.

    Being overweight or obese also raises the risk of some pregnancy problems, such as high blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis,miscarriage and gestational diabetes.

    Before you get pregnant you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to find out your BMI. But this may not be accurate once you’re pregnant, so consult your midwife or doctor.

    Having a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise are advised in pregnancy, and it’s important not to gain too much weight.

    You can keep to a healthy weight by having a balanced diet and doing regular exercise.

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    How Does Devastating Mental Health Affect The Growth Of The Baby

    While you are having a hard time during pregnancy, your baby also might be having a hard time inside the womb. The fact is that babies can sense the stress of the mother. This is why people always advise us to think positively.

    If you are having chronic anxiety, stress, or depression, it also might affect the future mental health of your baby. Stress during pregnancy directly exposes the child to stress hormones which result in higher anxiety levels.

    Moreover, one study shows that when a pregnant mom is exposed to a stressful task, it directly impacts the anxiousness of the babies and also increases the heart rate. Also, another study shows that depressed mothers are likely to have low birth weights as compared with happier moms. Moreover, pregnant mothers who are likely to smoke or drink during the pregnancy are more prone to having anxiety and depression.

    Stop Drinking Alcohol Smoking And Using Certain Drugs

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    Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain drugs can cause many problems during pregnancy for a woman and her baby, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.

    If you are trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, smoking, or using drugsget help! Contact your doctor or local treatment center.

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