So, you’ve decided that you want a baby, but are you ready to conceive? With careful planning, you can ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. Follow this pre-conception guide to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
Establish Healthy Diet and Exercise
To prepare your body for the rigors of pregnancy, establish an exercise routine and follow a healthy diet in the months before you try to conceive – vitamins with folic acid are essential. This is also the last time you can indulge in some of your favorite foods like sushi or certain cheeses, so enjoy them now.
Seek special care if you have diabetes
You will need to monitor your diabetes very carefully once you are pregnant, so it’s important to talk to a doctor now about conceiving. Whether you have type-1 or type-2 diabetes, you must monitor your blood sugar levels with care while you’re trying to get pregnant.
Consider genetic testing
Speak to your doctor about any genetic conditions that run in your family before you conceive. Once you are pregnant, you can test for a number of genetic conditions, but until then the doctor might recommend seeing a specialist.
Check your immunization history
Some infections can cause birth defects, so it’s a good idea to check your immunization history before you get pregnant. Immunizations protect against serious illnesses like rubella, whooping cough, the flu, and pneumococcal infections. It’s not just about the safety of your unborn baby, but your health too. Here’s what you need to know:
- Rubella in pregnant women can cause a variety of birth defects that affect the eyes, ears, brain, and heart of an unborn child, including deafness, and mental retardation. The risk is particularly high for babies whose mothers catch this disease in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, but you might already be immune. A simple blood test is all it takes to find out.
- Whooping cough is a dangerous infection that can result in serious illness or death for babies less than six months old. It’s commonly caught from parents, so both parents should be vaccinated before pregnancy.
- If you get vaccinated for influenza before pregnancy, both you and your baby will be protected.
- Immunization for pneumococcal infections can be done before pregnancy. Smokers or people with chronic diseases already have the highest risk of contracting these infections.
- Wait one month after you receive your immunizations to try to conceive.