When you are planning a pregnancy, it is easy to forget about other things. However, before you get down to the baby-making business, be sure to give some time to your to do list fist. Remember, babies take up a lot of time and energy. It is also a life changing experience. Once you are pregnant and after your baby is born, you are likely to not be able to do many things like before.
Things To Do Before Getting Pregnant
Talk to Your Partner
The decision to have a baby must be unanimous. Apart from that you need to speak to your partner about serious parenting points. These include:
- Sharing of childcare and household chores
- Working and staying at home for both of you
- Religious upbringing and traditions
- Schooling decisions
- Political teaching
Remember, these decisions are not set in stone. They are most likely to change over time. However, it is important for your partner and you both to start talking about these topics to be on the same page before trying to get pregnant. Talk about each of your priorities, expectations, and fears openly to avoid conflict and disappointment later on.
Stop the Pill
Stop using the birth control pills at least two to three months before you start trying to get pregnant. This will allow you some time to chart your ovulation. In case you have been on the pill for quite some time it is likely that your menstrual cycle may have shifted from from what it was before you started. It might take some time for your hormones levels to get back to their original levels. However, if you don't get your periods three months after stopping the pills – contact your doctor.
Cut Down on Excess Alcohol
If you are a moderate drinker it is okay. However, for those of you who are binge drinkers or drink every night of the week its time to cut back. When you start planning for a pregnancy be sure to keep the alcohol consumption moderate. This is to be followed for both you and your partner. Excess alcohol intake has been shown to interfere with your fertility and can also lower sperm count in men.
Stop Smoking – Now
No amount of smoking or exposure to smoke is considered to be safe. Smoking, even socially has been shown by several researches to have adverse effects on fertility – in both women and men. Your partner's sperm quality can be greatly compromised due to the effects of tobacco. It can also affect your egg quality. Time and again research has shown the connection between smoking and birth defects including preterm labor, miscarriage among others. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine upto 13 percent of the infertility problems faced by couples today maybe cause by tobacco use. Research has shown that even women who are exposed to second hand smoke have more problems getting pregnant. So, the best thing to do is to kick the butt now. Insist that your partner too stops smoking immediately. This will dramatically improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Watch your Caffeine Intake
Doctors are divided on exactly how much caffeine is ok for you when trying to get pregnant. Some doctors suggest about 100 miligrams a day. Some others are of the opinion to forego your cup of coffee altogether. However, all doctors advise you to cut back on your caffeine intake well before trying to get pregnant. This way you are less likely to suffer from withdrawal after you are pregnant. Too much caffeine is also known affect your fertility and trigger miscarriage. You need to remember that caffeine can be consumed from other common sources also. These include soda, tea, energy drinks, and even from certain pain medications. Check the labels and compositions to see how much caffeine is present in the items or medicines you consume.
Take a Couples' Vacation
Travelling with your newborn isn't impossible, but it can definitely be overwhelming. It is especially so if you are first time parents. So before you plunge into parenthood, take a final and hassle-free trip with just your partner. Go to an "adult" destination or an adults only resort. Relax and enjoy the vacation with your partner without having to witness screaming toddlers who may end up giving you cold feet.
Lose or Gain Weight – As needed
Being overweight or underweight can both mess with your chances at getting pregnant. Talk to your doctor and find out your ideal Body Mass Index (BMI). If you find you are much above your ideal BMI, shedding a few pounds before you are pregnant can actually improve your chances. If you are found to be below your ideal BMI, ask your doctor whether you need to bulk up a little before getting pregnant.Being the right BMI not only makes getting pregnant easier for women, it also reduces chances of complications during the pregnancy. Complications due to being overweight or underweight include Preeclampsia, preterm labor, low birth weight of babies, among others.
Consider getting a genetic screening before you start trying to conceive. Talk to your doctor about getting a genetic carrier screening to determine whether you or your partner are carriers of any inherited illness. If both you and your partner are are carriers your child will have a 1 in 4 chance of contracting the same. This maybe one of the most important things you can do to ensure you have a healthy and strong baby. Check with your medical insurance to see whether such a screening is insured in your policy – it generally is.
Start the Prenatal Vitamins
Consult your doctor and get the best suited prenatal vitamins for your specific needs. Ideally doctors recommend taking a prenatal vitamin that has at least 400 micro grams of folic acid. Adequate amounts of folic acid is extremely necessary to prevent major birth defects while your baby's spinal cord is developing. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much before pregnancy should you start taking prenatal vitamins. To be sure you can start as early as your doctor suggests to help you get the vital nutrients when you do become pregnant.
Go to the Movies
If you or your partner or both are movie buffs now is the time to catch as many movies on the bog screen as you can. Once you are pregnant sitting in the same position for such a long time can get pretty uncomfortable. Not to mention the frequent urge to pee! Also pregnancy exhaustion is more likely to knock you out once you are in the theater. Staying awake when you are well into your pregnancy can be particularly hard!
Organize your Finances
Having a baby is expensive. You need to have your finances in order well before you start planning a pregnancy. Pregnancies can be much more expensive than you anticipate. From purchasing the prenatal vitamins, to the doctor's visits, and so much more. Your expenses are likely to skyrocket with the birth of your baby. So make sure you are financially in a good place before getting pregnant. You also need to start setting up savings for your baby's future. Start small well before you are pregnant. This way you can be relaxed knowing you have some sort of a savings to fall back on when the baby comes.
Get Proper Sleep
Improper or broken sleep is likely to cause stress in your system. Stress is definitely a fertility-muddler. Not getting enough sleep before you are pregnant can also mess with your ovulation. Sleeplessness or not getting enough sleep is more likely to cause problems with your fertility by suppressing ovulation. Many of us are well aware and prepared for the sleepless nights once the baby is born. What we fail to anticipate is the number of sleepless nights you are likely to suffer during pregnancy. Pregnant women often do not get enough sleep due to bodily discomfort caused by frequent need to urinate, heartburn, and adjusting to sleeping on their sides. So get enough sleep before you are pregnant so that your body can cope with the sleepless nights that are coming up.
Detox your Diet
You may not be pregnant yet, but its a good idea to clean up your diet well before you try to get pregnant. Nix the junk, fatty, and sugary foods for healthier organic options. Clear out your refrigerator of the processed foods and empty calories. Instead stock it with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. A healthy diet before you conceive can make you less likely to get gestational diabetes, a type that affects pregnant women.
Stress is definitely one huge roadblock to getting pregnant. Modern life with its many trappings is definitely not the best suited for stress-free living. The very idea of getting pregnant is likely to cause you and your partner an insane amount of stress. But you seriously need to relax. Both male and female fertility is greatly affected by increased stress levels in the body. Stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol in the body. This suppresses the ovulation cycle making it more difficult for you to become pregnant. Find your particular stress remedy – whatever that maybe. It may be reading your favorite author, listening to one particular record, or even watching your favorite TV show. Whatever it is, both you and your partner need to de-stress if you are looking to start a family.
Make your Restaurant Checklist
Once you are pregnant you are bound to find some items in the menu that you desperately want to try, off limits. Also without the wine, you may feel less into the mood of a night out. Pregnancy exhaustion can also take the charm out of going out to eat. Not to mention the discomfort of having to get up to pee every now and then. Plus there's no predicting what can cause you to want to hurl! So before you get pregnant, make a list of restaurants that you and your husband want to visit. Check them off your list one by one. Try all the cuisines that you want to before you get restricted.
Figure out your Housing Needs
When its just you and your partner you are likely to be content with a smaller apartment. However, before getting pregnant be sure that you are living in a place where you see yourselves raising a child. Make sure you are okay with living where you are for at least another couple of years. Moving houses with an infant is a big trouble. So if you are not happy with where you are living at the moment, now is the ideal time to move. Feeling good about where you live is a great help towards feeling ready for a pregnancy.
Accommodate Your Career Planning
If you are unhappy about your current job, the best time to shift to a new one is well before you become pregnant. It is true that there is no law against hiring a woman who is expecting, in fact it is illegal. However, different organizations are likely to have different criteria for granting maternity and paternity leaves. So if either of you are looking to switch jobs it is best to do so at least a year before you become pregnant. Other points to consider about your current or future jobs are the working hours, your coworkers and their level of cooperation, enough flexibility in the organization for childcare after baby arrives, and whether other new parents are treated well. You also need to ask yourself whether you are okay with the current working hours, and whether you will be able to handle the commute to and from your workplace during pregnancy. If you find yourself answering no to any of the above questions, its probably best for you to seek another more suitable option. Or you can work with your boss to tweak your working situation to avoid stress and excessive travel.
Talk to the Women in your immediate family
Ask your mother, sisters, aunts, and even grandmas (if you can) about their pregnancies. Did they take long to conceive? Was their pregnancy a difficult one? What health concerns did they face? What psychological impact did the pregnancy have on them? Certain health conditions tend to run in families, and it's a smart idea to brush up on your history and share any relevant information with your doctor. But don't worry too much. No two pregnancies are alike, and yours is going to be completely unique.
Visit Your Doctor
Many experts recommend booking a pre-pregnancy checkup at your ob-gyn at least three months before you plan to start trying. This is especially needed if you have a family history of fertility issues. You'll also want to make sure you're up-to-date on vaccinations, checked for STDs, tested for heart-health issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol.Make sure that any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or thyroid problems, are in check. Talk to your doctor about any medication you are on and their possible side effects on fertility and pregnancy. It is a good idea for your husband too to get tested to be sure.
Visit Your Dentist
It may seem totally unrelated to fertility, but getting your teeth and gums checked out before pregnancy is another wise move. More and more research links oral health to a healthy pregnancy. Women with unchecked gum disease are more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. Having your teeth examined now gives you time to get x-rays (which should be avoided during pregnancy) if you need them.
Stop Buying Clothes
You'll grow out of those fitted tops and skinny jeans within a couple of months of pregnancy, so anything you buy now you'll get to wear only for a few months before they get packed away until after baby comes. It is also less likely to cause you depression if you do not have a closet full of new clothes you cannot wear. Instead of clothes, you can buy accessories that can be used both during the pregnancy and afterwards without having to worry about your increasing size.
Pregnancy is a wonderful phase in many women's lives. Motherhood changes your life forever. However, you need to be completely sure you are indeed ready for it before you take the plunge. Having an unplanned pregnancy is difficult for all parties involved. So make sure you talk to your partner and be on the same page before you start planning. Also make sure you are both physically and mentally ready for this shift in your life and lifestyle. Many women feel depressed during their pregnancy feeling that they have given up too much from their former lives. So be sure this is what you want before getting pregnant.