If you are trying to conceive or are just thinking about it, it is not too early to start getting your body ready for pregnancy.
Preconception health and health care focus on things you can do before and during pregnancy to increase the chances of having a healthy baby.
For some women, getting their bodies ready for pregnancy takes a few months. For others, it might take longer.
Read also: 5 Best Sex Positions That Lead To Conception
The following are important steps to help your body get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
1. Make a Plan and Take Action
Make sure you are up to date on preventive services. See which screening tests and vaccines you need to stay healthy.
2. See Your Doctor
Before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about preconception health care. Your doctor will want to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that could affect a pregnancy.
They may want to discuss any previous pregnancy problems, medicines you currently are taking, vaccinations you might need, and steps you can take before pregnancy to help prevent certain birth defects.
3. Medical Conditions
If you currently have any medical conditions, be sure they are under control and being treated.
4. Lifestyle and Behaviours
Talk with your doctor if you do any of these:
- smoke, drink alcohol, or use certain drugs that are harmful
- live in a stressful or unconducive environment
- work or live around toxic substances.
Your doctor can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.
Almost every pregnant person will face a decision about taking medications before and during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare providers before starting or stopping any medications. Be sure to discuss the following with your healthcare providers:
- All medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal and dietary supplements, and vitamins
- Best ways to keep any health conditions you have under control
- Your personal goals and preferences for the health of you and your baby
6. Vaccinations (shots)
Most vaccines are safe during pregnancy and some, such as the flu vaccine and Tdap (adult tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine), are specifically recommended during pregnancy. Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you healthy and help protect your baby from some diseases during the first few months of life.
7. Stop Drinking Alcohol, Smoking, and Using Certain Drugs
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain drugs can cause many problems during pregnancy, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.
If you are trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, smoking, or using drugs, contact your healthcare provider.
8. Avoid Toxic Substances and Environmental Contaminants
Avoid harmful chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances such as synthetic chemicals, some metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces around the home and in the workplace.
These substances can hurt the reproductive systems of men and women. They can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Exposure to even small amounts during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, or puberty can lead to diseases.
9. Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious conditions, including complications during pregnancy, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). People who are underweight are also at risk for serious health problems.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, talk with your doctor about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant.
10. Get Mentally Healthy
Mental health is how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. To be at your best, you need to feel good about your life and value yourself. Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad, or stressed sometimes.
However, if these feelings do not go away and they interfere with your daily life, get help. Talk with your healthcare provider about your feelings and treatment options.
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