You’ve made the decision to try to have a baby – how do you get there? In addition to the main measure, of course! Before trying to get pregnant, you will need to make the following 11 preparations:
- Get a full medical exam : Make sure your body is ready for the changes to come. Ask your doctor for a complete exam including a Pap smear test, breast exam, screening for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and an update, if necessary, of your vaccination status.
- Take control of your health : Women who want to become mothers and who have chronic conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis may need additional counseling to treat their symptoms or prevent certain complications during their pregnancy. Most of doctors can guide you and give you the tools you need to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.
- Get rid of your bad habits : you (and your partner) shouldn’t smoke. Not only does smoking interfere with the growth of babies, it also reduces fertility in both men and women. Also abstain from alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Get in shape : if you exercise moderately, you improve your chances of getting pregnant; continuing your exercise program during pregnancy will also increase your energy levels while helping you sleep better and alleviating some of the pain associated with the extra weight you will have to carry. Ask your doctor to tell you which exercises are right for you.
- Achieve the best possible weight : Being overweight can reduce female (and male) fertility. Consult your doctor to plan a healthy and reasonable weight reduction.
- Get the nutrients you need : Eat a healthy, balanced diet and add a prenatal vitamin to it. Make sure your supplement contains folic acid, also known as folate, which is a B vitamin that is helpful in preventing certain birth defects. Folate is also found in certain foods such as lentils, beans, asparagus and spinach. Ask your doctor to tell you how much folic acid you should take.
- Make an appointment with your dentist : Pregnancy predisposes you to certain oral health problems, and when you become pregnant you may not be able to have all the necessary dental procedures.
- Make sure you’re not taking too much caffeine : Women hoping to become pregnant should reduce their caffeine intake to no more than 300 mg per day – the equivalent of 2 cups of filter coffee. Gradually decrease the amount of caffeine you consume each day and remember that it is also found in tea, chocolate and in certain products where its presence is not suspected, such as coffee flavored yogurts.
- Learn about birth control : Ask your doctor for the best time to stop using your birth control method.
- Learn About Your Cycle : You may have a rough idea of when your period will be, but if you want to get pregnant, find out more about your cycle. Know when you are ovulating.
- Get it right : ask yourself if you are ready to embark on pregnancy and parenting. Identify potentially stressful elements in your life and develop strategies to reduce the stress. Stress can affect your ability to conceive.