Planning for a Pregnancy

Once you have reached the big decision to have a baby you can begin planning for your pregnancy. Planning for a pregnancy can greatly benefit the health mother and baby. It is intended to help reduce the chance of birth defects and create a healthy environment for both of them.

What Should You Discuss With Your Doctor?

Before getting pregnant you should make an appointment with your health care provider. This is especially true for women over 30.

During your intial appointment you should discuss:

  • Your diet so that you make sure that you are adequately addressing your and the baby's nutritional needs.

  • Your physical activity level.
    This will help ascertain if you are getting enough exercise.

  • Whether you or your partner are a smoker.

  • Whether you or your partner drinks alcohol.
    Alcohol intake can inhibit fertility as well as cause birth defects.

  • Whether you use illegal substances like marijuana or other drugs.

  • Your mental health concerns

  • The current medications that you are taking (this includes both prescription and over the counter medications). You should ask which are safe to continue taking and which may harm the fetus.

  • Your current health condition and health concerns
    It is especially important for women who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, eating disorders, or depression to these things with their doctor before becoming pregnant.

  • Chronic medical conditions

  • Family health history

  • Your immunization history
    This will determine if your shots are up to date or whether you need to be vaccinated for certain diseases like Chickenpox and Rubella. Vaccinations of this type should occur at least 3 months prior to pregnancy.

  • Sexual history
    This will determine whether you need to be screened for sexually transmitted disease, Hepatitis B, or toxoplasmosis.

  • HIV status of the mother
    There are certain medications that can be prescribed to the mother during pregnancy to help decrease certain risks to both the mother and the baby.

Medical Tests Before Pregnancy

Your doctor will also be able to assist you in determining genetic testing you may want to seek out before becoming pregnant. These tests include:

  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Sickle-cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Cystic fibrosis

Health Tips Before Becoming Pregnant?

Your health care provider will likely recommend:

  • An increase in your daily folic acid intake.
  • Avoid Caffeine
  • Cut back on alcohol, or better yet completely abstain
  • Cease tobacco usage
  • Continue or improve your exercising habits
  • Improve your diet
  • Stop taking oral contraception 3 about months prior to trying to conceive. Or at least try to wait until you have had at least one regular menstrual period.
  • Increase your water intake
  • Get your dental cleaning and dental care up to date before getting pregnant
  • Take prenatal vitamins

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