By Carolina Boyd
If you have decided you are ready to start a family or if you are still thinking about one day becoming a mom, it is not too soon to start planning for pregnancy. Focusing on your health before you conceive will increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
It is important for every woman to think about her overall health regardless of whether or not she is planning to become pregnant. That is because half of all pregnancies are not planned. Here are some steps to take before trying to conceive.
Pay a visit to your doctor
Before you get pregnant, talk to your doctor about your health, medications or any medical conditions that could impact pregnancy. Your doctor will want to make sure that conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or sexually transmitted diseases are under control and being treated. Your doctor may also want to talk to you about being up-to-date on vaccinations.
Begin taking Folic Acid
Take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day if you are thinking of becoming pregnant. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before conceiving, it can help to prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
If you are struggling to stop smoking, drinking or using drugs, seek treatment before you try to become pregnant. Those substances can lead to premature labor or birth defects.
Avoid toxic substances and environmental contaminants
Stay away from toxic substances or any harmful materials at work or home. That includes metals, fertilizer, bug spray and cat or rodent feces. These can hurt the reproductive system and make it more difficult to become pregnant.
Learn your family history
If you or your partner have a family history that includes birth defects, developmental disabilities or any genetic disease, you may be more likely to have a baby with one of those conditions. Share your, and your partner’s family medical history, as well as any related concerns with your doctor.
Legacy Community Health providers can guide you on your birth planning. They will work with you to determine when you want to conceive and then build a program for a safe, healthy pregnancy and delivery. For more information contact your Legacy OB/GYN provider to discuss any pre-pregnancy concerns.
Photo by Nathan Cowley via Pexels