A 7-Step Guide to Getting Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Planning a little bundle of joy? Get yourself and your body ready for a baby with this 8-step guide:
Step 1: Consult with Your General Practitioner
Most clinics and hospitals will provide pre-conceptual care. If your GP is available, you can consult with him/her, but getting your checkup done by a midwife or practice nurse will do just fine. Your GP will advise you on lifestyle changes that will help ensure a healthy and normal pregnancy. They will discuss your partner’s lifestyle as well and will probably check if all your immunizations are complete and up-to-date.
Nutrition is important for you and your baby so your GP will most likely prescribe supplements, suggest dietary improvements or refer you to a dietitian who can help your body prepare for pregnancy. Discussing your work commitments with your GP is of utmost importance, especially if your job exposes you to health hazards. Immunizations or taking leave might be necessary.
If you have any long-term illnesses, your GP will also discuss how you can make your pregnancy work around them and how those illnesses can impact your pregnancy.
Step 2: Visit Your Gynecologist
You might want to get a full breast and pelvic exam before getting pregnant. Just in case any reproductive issues come up, at least you can address them before trying for a baby. It is quite difficult to treat reproductive issues like infections, STIs or worse, cancer, if you’re having a baby. Have yourself screened, and subject yourself to all available and applicable testing to be sure.
Step 3: Get a Pre-Pregnancy Checkup Done
A pre-pregnancy checkup is more or less a total physical examination to identify whether you are physically able to bear and support a child.
You will be asked about your health history: hereditary illnesses, surgeries and most notable illnesses you have contracted over the years. They will probably ask about your lifestyle too. How often you exercise, how much you weigh, and how your diet looks like. You will also be asked about your periods, the type of contraception you use, and whether you or your close family members have a history of reproductive problems.
Step 4: Medical Tests
Depending on the results of you physical examination and your consultation with your GP, you may be required to undergo several medical tests. You will commonly be asked to get some blood tests done. This is to check if you may be anemic or just to see if your blood work is normal. If you belong to an At-Risk profession, you may also be required to get screened for STIs. If you’re due to have a cervical smear this year, move it up before trying for a baby. A pregnancy can cause changes to your cervix, making results hard to interpret, so to be safe have it done earlier than scheduled.
Step 5: Change Your Diet and Consider Taking Supplements
Most moms really do try and eat better when they become pregnant, but starting the habit beforehand can not only ensure your baby will get the nourishment it needs, it might even help you conceive easier. Read up on the vitamins and minerals that are crucial during pregnancy and load up on foods that are rich in those nutrients. Find information online, or if you got cash to burn consider seeing a nutritionist who will help you prepare your diet for pregnancy. Multivitamins, especially those with folate, are great supplements to combine with your new healthy diet.
Step 6: Give Up Smoking, Drinking and Drugs
You don’t even really need to want to get pregnant to stop smoking, drinking or doing drugs, but wanting to get pregnant is really the best time to do so. All those things may cause hormonal imbalance, poor stress response and may even delay ovulation, narrowing your chances of conception. Besides, it’s better to stop now than to find out you’re pregnant after a night of drinking and boozing.
Step 7: Exercise
Pre-conception is probably one of the best times to start getting fit through exercise. It solidifies the habit of exercising, a habit that will become quite helpful once you’re pregnant. It is also better to get to a healthy weight because being either obese or underweight can hurt your chances of conception.