Nov 14, 2010 No Comments
Ready to board that cute little passenger on the mother ship?
Here are some preconception steps you can take to make sure that ship is in shape.
1. Get a preconception checkup. You don’t have to choose a prenatal practioner yet,but it would be a good idea to see your regular gynecologist or internist for a thorough physical. An exam will pick up any medical problems that need to be corrected beforehand or that will need to be monitored during pregnancy. Plus, your doctor will be able to steer you away from medications that are pregnancy (or preconception) no-no’s, make sure your immunizations are up to date, and talk to you about your weight, your diet, your drinking and other lifestyle habits, and similar preconception issues.
2. Smile for the dentist. A visit to the dentist before you get pregnant is almost as important
as a visit to the doctor. That’s because your future pregnancy can affect your mouth and your
mouth can possibly affect your future pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can actually aggravate gum
and tooth problems, making a mess of a mouth that’s not well taken care of to begin with. So
before you get busy making a baby, get busy getting your mouth into shape.Be sure, too, to have
any necessary work, including X-rays, fillings, and dental surgery, completed now so that it
won’t have to be done during pregnancy.
3. Check your family tree. Get the scoop on the health history on both sides of the family tree.
It’s especially important to find out if there’s a history of any medical issues and genetic or
chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia,
hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, or fragile X syndrome.
4. Take a look at your pregnancy history. If you’ve had a previous pregnancy with any complications
or one that ended with a premature delivery or late pregnancy loss, or if you’ve had multiple
miscarriages, talk to your practioner about any measures that can be taken to head off a repeat.
5.Immunizations. An unborn baby exposed to rubella(German measles) during its early development
can be born severely handicapped. Don’t assume that because you were vaccinated in your teens,
or you have had the infection, that you are automatically immune. Ask your doctor to give you
a blood test to check. If you are not immune you can be vaccinated, but you should not get
pregnant until the vaccine virus has cleared from your blood, which takes about three months.
If you hae been given vaccines for tropical diseases, you should also wait for three months before
6. Nutrition. A well-balanced, healthy diet is essential for both your well-being and that of your
baby. Everything you eat will also become your unborn child’s nourishment, and what you store
before pregnancy is important for early fetal development when all the major organs are formed.
One of the B vitamins, folic acid, helps prevent neural tube defects(NTD), such as spina bifida,
in unborn babies. It is recommended that all women planning a pregnancy should increase their
average daily intake to 0.6mg by taking a 0.4mg supplement before attempting conception, and
during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is the time when your baby’s organ and body systems
are forming. If you are epileptic and take drugs to control your epilepsy you should consult
your doctor before taking folic acid.
7. Take a prenatal vitamin. Even if you’re eating plenty of foods high in folic acid, it’s still
recommended that you take a pregnancy supplement containing 400mcg of the vitamin, preferably
beginning two months before you try to concieve.
8. Get your weight in check. Being over-weight or very underweight not only reduces the chances of
conception, but, if you do conceive, weight problems can increase the risk of pregnancy complications
So add or cut calories in the preconception period as needed. If you’ve been extreme dieting recently,
start eating normally and give your body a few months to get back into balance before you try to
9. Exercise. Regular exercise is important as it will not only help you get fit before conception,
it will also strengthen muscles in your lower back, stomach, and legs, which will help your body
cope better with the demands of pregnancy.
10. Medication. Fertilisation and the early development of a baby are cotrolled by delicately balanced
chemical processes in the body. Additional chemicals entering your body as medication can upset this
development, so if possible you should avoid taking any medicines before conception and during pregnancy.
If you are on long-term medication, you will need to talk to your doctor about your options. Medicines
that are available over the counter, natural remedies and vitamin supplements should also be avoided,
unless they have been recommended by your doctor.Oral contraceptives rely on chemically-produced
hormones to control fertility. If you are taking the pill, change to a barrier method, such as the
condom or diaphragm, for three months before trying to conceive. This allow your body to clear itself
of synthetic hormones and to reestablish its own cycle.
11. Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol can inhibit fertility, so both you and your partner should keep alcohol
consumption to a minimum or avoid drinking altogether while trying to conceive. Once you are pregnant,
alcohol, if taken in excess, can restrict fetal development and can even cause malformation. It is
advisable to drink no more than one unit of alcohol a week during pregnancy.
12. Quit smoking. Did you know that smoking can not only interfere with fertility but also cause your eggs
to age? That’s right – a 30 year old smoker’s eggs act more like 40 year old eggs, making conception more
difficult and miscarriage more likely. Kicking the habit now is not only the best gift you can give your
baby-to-be(before and after birth), but it can make it more likely that you’ll conceive that baby-to-baby.
13. Give it time. Keep in mind that it takes an average of six months for a normal, healthy 25-year-old
woman to conceive, and longer for woman who are older. It may also take longer if your partner is older.
So don’t stress if baby magic doesn’t happen right away. Just keep on having fun trying; and give yourselves
atleast six months before consulting your practioner and, if needed, a fertility specialist. If you’re over
35, you may want to check in with your practioner after three months of trying.
14. Relax. This is perhaps the most important step of all. Of course, you’re excited about getting
pregnant-and, more than likely, at least a little stressed about it, too. But getting tense and uptight
about conception could prevent you from conceiving. Learn to do relaxation exercises, to meditate, and
to cut down as much as possible on stress in your daily life.