Planning to have a baby is one of the most important decisions a woman takes in her life. It not only gives her immense pleasure to experience the joys of motherhood but also gives her the sense of ‘being complete’. Pregnancy involves getting ready both mentally as well as physically. Before you try to conceive, you need to assess whether your body is ready for the next nine months of pregnancy.
How to get your body ready for pregnancy?
You need to consider the below things before you try to conceive-
How old are I and my partner?
As mentioned in my previous article, the age of both men and women affect the chances of getting pregnant as well as the health of the baby. Read here to know more about it.
Am I of the right weight?
Being overweight or underweight carries with them their own risks for the health of the baby as well as the mother. Speak with your doctor on how to address this concern. Even the weight of the male affects the chances of getting pregnant.
What type of Birth control am I using?
Depending upon the type of birth control method you were using, you the time of conception vary. If you have been taking conventional birth control pills, you might need a 2 week’s time before you can conceive. If you have been using some long term birth control, it might be 6-7 months before you can conceive. Therefore, it is always advised to consult your doctor first before you try to conceive.
Do I or my partner have any family history for genetic diseases?
Both men as well as women’s family history is important to determine and prevent any issues that might affect the baby. Diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, etc can all be passed on to the baby through the genes. Share the complete family medical history with the doctor so that he acts accordingly and refer you to a genetic counselor.
Blood tests for diseases
It is advisable to get your blood tested for anemia. If you are anemic, you will need extra iron supplements. Also, diseases like sickle cell disease and thalassemia would get detected and taken care of.
Do I require vaccinations?
If you are not vaccinated for diseases like chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis, then your baby’s health is at risk. You should get yourself vaccinated before you try to conceive.
Should I quit smoking and drinking alcohol?
Absolutely. Not only smoking and alcohol but if you also take any illegal drugs, it can have a major impact on the health of your baby. See you doctor and tell him about them. He might be able to help you get over them effectively.
Are you or your partner at risk for STDs?
If you feel you or your partner is at risk of sexually transmitted disease, it can not only affect your chances of getting pregnant but also can have serious implications on the health of the baby. So both of you should see the doctor and screen for STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, etc
Complications during earlier pregnancy
If you had any complications during an earlier pregnancy like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preterm labor, premature birth, birth defects or you required a C-section, consult your doctor before you conceive. If your baby had any neural tube defects from the earlier pregnancy, your may need a higher dosage of folic acid than those found in common pre-natal vitamins.
When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
You should start taking your prenatal vitamins before you try to conceive. Speak with your doctor who can recommend you prenatal or any other supplement depending upon your medical condition.
Do I need to make any lifestyle changes?
You may need to if you haven’t been living healthily. If your body is not fit, or you do not eat healthily or sleep at regular times, you will need to alter these. A sound mind and a healthy body can give your baby a great start to life!
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