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Planning on getting pregnant ?

Updated on November 14, 2015
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The author is a midwife and a nurse, working with women and newborn babies since 2003.

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Pregnancy planing

When you think you're ready to bring a baby to this world, give yourself a room to make changes that might help you and your baby during the pregnancy. When most people think about plans for a baby, they think about what things to buy, how to paint the nursery, what the best stroller is and where you can get the cutest outfit. But there is another kind of planning, and that is your own preparation for the strenuous and difficult task of pregnancy. It's not always walking on clouds, and there are a few things you can make sure of before starting your journey.

Not all pregnancies are planned, and the points in this article are also valid for the first weeks of pregnancy. Even though you are pregnant all ready, all of these changes will help you during the next 8 or 9 months.

Congratulations on your decision or your newly positive pregnancy test !

General health

It's important for you and your baby, to be the best possible you at the beginning of a pregnancy. You should look at your life few months before you want to start trying to have a baby and see what you can change to be the best you.

  • Balanced diet and daily excercise are one of the first things to get in order. Note that a 20 minute walk a day can do the wonders for you and your body.
  • You should also start taking folic acid supplements as soon as you start thinking of having a baby. Folic acid is important for the growth of the fetus in early pregnancy, it even has effect before you know you're pregnant. It's so important that it is even advised in some countries that women in childbearing age that could get pregnant, should always take folic acid supplementation. 400-600 micrograms a day should do the trick.

Special conditions

  • For women that have special conditions like diabetis, epilepsy, heart problems or other major health relating conditions its important to get advice from your specific health practitioner. They should also get an appointment with their OB/GYN for further discussions about choices during pregnancy and birth.
  • For women taking daily medications, it's very important to consult your doctor before getting pregnant.
  • When genetic disorders are known in the family, consultation might be advised.


Food and drink

One good fact that is good to know beforehand is that during pregnancy it's not recommended to eat raw food of any kind.

  • Raw meat and fish, unpasturatered cheese and raw egg's are the most common things that pregnant women need to cut from they’re diet.

Drinks

  • High caffeine consumption during the first weeks of pregnancy can be dangerous for the wellbeing of the fetus. It can increase the risk of miscarriage, birth defects and premature labor.
  • You get caffeine from coffee, colas and chocolate. There are around 100 mg of caffeine in one regular cup of coffee, and 10mg per 100ml of a cola drink.
  • A consumption of more than 400 mg of caffeine daily can severely increase the risk of miscarriage and overall it is not recommended for pregnant women to consume more than 150 mg a day. The best is to cut it out of your daily routine before getting pregnant and use it sparely during the pregnancy.

Alcohol

  • Most women know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can have traumatic effect on the fetus, miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight and premature labor to name a few.
  • What a few couples know is that alcohol consumption of both the mother and the father during the weeks before conception can contribute to early miscarriage. So alcohol is something you should stop to consume from the moment you start trying for a baby.


Smoking, drugs and chemicals

  • Cut down smoking before trying for a baby, it's best to quit entirely.
  • Are you taking drugs, legal or illegal that can harm your unborn baby?
  • Are there dangerous chemicals in your home or workplace, for example fumes or gases?

Exercise

For those women who are not used to regular exercises, a 20 minute walk every day will make all the difference. It lowers the risk for complications related to high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

For athletes and those who exercise regularly it's good to know that usually you can keep exercising when trying for a baby, and during pregnancy. Moderation is the key here and it's very important to listen to your body. If you feel sick, dissy or strained during a workout, you should stop and rest and adjust your routine for future exercises.

Stress levels

It's been shown in studies, that a stressed mother can have direct effect on her unborn baby (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046825). The same story can be told about anxiety and depression (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24090740).

  • Look at your own stress levels, look at your job, chores and hobbies.
  • See if you can think of ways to reduce stress
  • If you have a history of anxiety or depression, make sure to seek help from yoga, meditation, therapist or a shrink so that you can be as balanced as possible when you get pregnant.
  • Talk to your partner and keep an open conversation about how you feel.
  • If you don't have a partner, try to confide in a trusted friend or family member.

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A few words from me to you

Don't let your diary get the hold of you, ovulation planning can be stressful. At least for a little time, try to enjoy the time you don't have to think about contraceptives. Build your relationship, go out on dates and have fun with each other. If you are not in a relationship, meet up with friends, have a spa day and try to relax and enjoy your decision, enough worries will follow later.

Now it’s up to you, take your time in preparing for your pregnancy. Most women only get pregnant two or three times in their lifetime, so enjoy the preparation, the trying and your wonderful pregnancy.

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