So, you have decided to step into parenthood, have a child and take his/her responsibility. Of course, things will get much more different as they are now and you will have to take proper care of yourself and your baby. But the responsibilities don’t just start when the pregnancy kicks in, you will have to take them up now so that you do not have to suffer from any complications at the time of delivery. Listed below are 21 things that you should do before you get pregnant.
All Couples Should Do Before Getting Pregnant
Schedule a Preconception Visit
Schedule a visit to your doctor, for he will review your present health, personal and family medical history and any medications you are taking. There are certain medicines that are considered unsafe during pregnancy. Apart from this, your doctor will discuss about your diet, exercise plan and may recommend you some tests for immunity to childhood diseases
Take folic Acid
You can apparently reduce your chances of having a baby with neural tube defects by taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day during your first trimester and one moth before you conceive. You can easily get folic acid supplements at the nearby store or you can go for prenatal or regular multivitamin. The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A is 770 mcg RAE (2,565 IU), so you should ensure you do not take more than the recommended amount in a day.
Recent studies have shown that smoking or drugs can lead to premature birth, miscarriage and low-weight babies. Whereas, tobacco can affect your fertility and also lower the sperm count of your partner. Once you are pregnant, you have to stop all these unhealthy habits at any cost for the betterment of your baby and yourself.
Aim For Healthy Weight
You should make sure that you do not have a much lower or much higher body mass index (BMI). For women with high BMI, they are likely to experience certain complications during pregnancy or delivery, whereas women with low BMI, who fail to gain weight end up giving birth to low-weight babies.
Follow an Exercise Program
This means that you should devote 30 minutes or more of your day to moderate exercising, which can include cycling, walking or even weight training. But this does not mean that you have to go for high intensity workout. You can also try out stretching or yoga program.
See your dentist
At the time of pregnancy, you are more susceptible to gum diseases, all of which occur because of the hormonal shifts. The gums can react differently to the bacteria in plaque because of higher levels of estrogen and progesterone which can result in red, swollen and bleeding gums.
Consider Money Matters
Give a call to your health insurance company in order to find out the kind of prenatal coverage they offer. If you have a particular doctor in your mind who you want to get treated by, find out how much it would cost you to see her. Moreover, also find out about the tests your health insurance covers.
Consider your Mental Health
Women suffering from depression are more likely to have complications in their pregnancy than women who don’t. So, all women who have had a medical history of depression should get their mental health check ups done.
For this, you should stay away from certain foods, for instance, unpasteurized soft cheeses and other dairy products, undercooked fish, cold deli meats and poultry. Avoid these foods as these can cause listeriosis, a food borne illness. Wash your hands more frequently at the time of preparing meals and make sure you wear your gloves when you dig in the garden or sandbox.
Re-Think about your decision
It is imperatively important for you to know and be sure if you are ready to take this responsibility. Make sure that you and your partner is ready to take the responsibility of a child. Think about how you will balance your professional and personal life and childcare responsibilities.
Find out when you ovulate
A number of woman stop relying on birth control pills when they are sure they are ready to get pregnant, while others rely on a calculated approach to mark their fertile days each month. This tracking out procedure can help you find out the exact days you are ovulating each month.
Reduce environmental risks
Pesticides, lead in drinking water from old pipes and solvents can be detrimental to the developing baby. Moreover, if you are exposed to chemicals or radiations on a daily basis, you will have to eliminate this before you conceive.
Watch your intake of fish
It is recommended that pregnant women should avoid those fish that are highest in mercury. Also, you should avoid fish that is caught in local water as hat may contain some contaminants. Salmon, sardines, herring and farm-raised rainbow trout are some of the best choices.
Maintain your caffeine intake
Pregnant women should avoid large amounts of caffeine as this can lead to miscarriage. You should limit your intake to 200 milligrams per day.
Genetic carrier screening
This will help you to determine if you or your partner is a carrier for some inherited illness such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and others. This is one of the most important things to ensure that you have a healthy baby.
A healthy diet
Start opting out for food that is rich in nutrients. Nuts, seeds, poultry, soy products and meats are a rich a source of protein. Whereas, orange juice, yogurt and milk are high in calcium. Eat two cups of fruits and two and a half cups of vegetables on a daily basis.
Stress can increase your chances of having a premature baby or a low birth weight baby. There are a number of things you can possibly rely on to reduce your stress, for instance, yoga, pilates, reading books and so much more.
Go for movies
This is because once you get pregnant, you cannot spend three hours or more sitting in the same position as this can get very uncomfortable. So enjoy all your favourite movies now in the big screen.
Once you get pregnant, things like heartburn, getting up to pee can keep you awake and lead to sleepless nights. So utilize your time now and sleep as much as you can. Women who tend to get more sleeping hours are likely to have less ovulating problems as compared to those who don’t.
No, I don’t mean that you just have to capture your and your hubby’s pictures, but get snaps of almost everything. For instance, the first place you met, your home, or anything else that will later on remind you of your pre-pregnancy period.
Go to different restaurants
You can also do this at the time of your pregnancy, but once that kicks in, the food you eat now will be a lot different then. So, keep a checklist of all the amazing places you can check in now and enjoy the delicious food.
Although pregnancy comes with a lot of responsibilities, but it is still the best time in one’s life. However, it does not mean that you can be a little careless about a few things or so because this is not at all the case. You should carry out these responsibilities right from the point you know you are pregnant. Get your mental health check up done, call your doctor to determine if you have been suffering from a disease that might affect your baby. More importantly, give up bad habits like drinking or smoking and go for healthy nutritious food. Get enough sleep and take proper rest to calm your mind and soul.