Ready to take a plunge into this next milestone in your life? After much thought you might have planned pregnancy at the most favorable time. Preparing your body physically is an important but unfortunately the most ignored aspect of ‘planning’ for a pregnancy. The preparation should ideally begin at least three months before trying for a baby. If this is not possible, at least one month’s preparation is advised.
Visit with your Gynecologist. Discuss your medical history in detail. Discuss your past and current medical conditions. Inform your Gynecologist about the medications that you may be taking currently or need occasionally. Some medicines (including ointments, sprays and drops) need to be stopped completely before pregnancy. If the medication cannot be stopped altogether, your Gynecologist will recommend that you switch over to an optional medication that may be safe to consume during pregnancy. Discuss history of any inherited medical conditions or genetic disorders that may run in both your families. Understand the implications of such conditions on the pregnancy and the baby so that you can be better prepared. Get the recommended lab tests done. If any problem is encountered, it can be treated in time to ensure a smooth pregnancy.
Get a dental check up. Get any caries, cavities and other problems treated before you fall pregnant.
Take folic acid supplements - Folic acid supplements should ideally be taken by both partners. It should be started three months prior to pregnancy. It is required for the formation of your baby’s DNA, to ensure growth and development of the baby in the first weeks of life and reduce birth defects such as spina bifida.
Avoid taking any medicines by yourself, unless recommended by a doctor (make sure that they are aware that you are trying to conceive). Some medicines are known to cause birth defects, especially medication used for acne, certain antibiotics, painkillers and even some OTC medicines.
Avoid caffeine - In large amounts caffeine has been shown to decrease the chances of falling pregnant. Once pregnant it is recommended that caffeine should be limited .
Avoid alcohol - Alcohol even in moderation has been found to reduced the chances of falling pregnant. Once pregnant there has been no safe level of alcohol identified - so ideally avoid alcohol all together.