Starting a family is such an exciting time for you and your partner, but the journey to parenthood isn’t without its obstacles, so preparation and planning are both essential. It’s important to look after your own health as well as carving the right path for pregnancy and the health of your baby. Here are seven things you can do before pregnancy that’ll help you during your journey with child…

  1. Schedule a preconception appointment – it’s a good idea to visit a health professional before you start trying for a baby. Whether it’s your family practice doctor, a midwife, nurse, or ob-gyn, book an appointment for a quick review of your family medical history, your present health and any medications or supplements you’re taking.
  2. Take folic acid – and watch out for vitamin A. By taking 400mcg of folic acid a day for at least one month before you conceive and during your first trimester, you can cut your chances of having a baby with neural-tube defects such as spina bifida by 50 to 70 percent.
  3. Cut back on partying – drinking and smoking during pregnancy is a definite no-go, and such is the case beforeconceiving, too. Excess alcohol intake and smoking cigarettes have been shown to interfere with your fertility and can lower your partner’s sperm count. What’s more, alcohol has been shown to have adverse effects on your baby during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when you might not know you’re even pregnant yet, so it’s important to cut out alcohol altogether if you’re trying to conceive.
  4. Aim for a healthy weight – you’ll have a much easier time conceiving and a much healthier pregnancy if you’re at a healthy weight. Women with a high BMI are more likely to have pregnancy or delivery complications, while women who start with a low BMI and fail to gain weight are more likely to deliver underweight babies.
  5. Start saving – starting a family isn’t without expense so make sure you start putting money aside each month so that you’ve got a mini fund set up for things like nappies, baby food, nursery furniture, clothes and other baby expenses.
  6. Get some good sleep – enjoy the luxury of a good night’s sleep and sort your sleep cycle so that you’re used to early mornings.
  7. Head to the dentist – hormonal changes during pregnancy can make you more susceptible to all sorts of dental nasties – sensitive gums, bleeding, soreness and swelling when you floss or brush. So book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible so you can have a good clean up before those hormones kick in! 

Do you know what else can you do to get your mind and body in perfect shape for pregnancy? Take our quiz to see if you’re a Maternity Mastermind and download our free factsheet!

 

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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