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How to Prepare for Pregnancy 

By Karli Steenkamp 

Deciding to have a baby is a huge decision. It’s a worthwhile one and it will impact you and your partner’s lives immensely. The good thing about your decision is that you want this and can plan ahead to ensure that you and your baby are receiving the best care and support possible.  

There are a couple of things you need to consider when planning to conceive: 

  • Check-Up with Your Doctor 

Schedule a check-up with your doctor. It is very important to make sure that you are in perfect health before you fall pregnant. Do a full check-up including a Pap smear and a breast exam.  

Be careful not to get any infections. If you vaccinate, make sure that you are up to date especially with your Rubella vaccine. Rubella can be harmful to your baby if you are pregnant. 

While you are at the doctor it might be a good idea to check out a few more things. Will you consider genetic screening? People with history of genetic disorders might consider these tests to find out how likely they are to pass these genes on to their children. There are pros to this as you might hear medical issues that you have not been aware of and learn about your family history. These tests however are not a 100% accurate. It is wise to speak to your doctor and then decide if these tests are something you want to pursue.  

It is advised that women that want to fall pregnant should take folic acid a month before they are trying to conceive. Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. 

  • Blood Tests 

The next step is for you and your partner to go for blood test to find out what blood group each of you have, if you don’t know that information already. If you have a positive blood group and your partner has a negative blood group then your pregnancy might need more attention than the usual. In these cases, your body will see that embryo as a foreign visitor and might reject or fight it. In today’s modern world there is ways to treat this. 

  • Dentist Appointment 

The dentist should be your next stop. Book a check-up. Pregnancy can lead to swollen gums and you don’t want this to get worse with pre-existing dental issues. 

  • Healthy Lifestyle, Exercise and Relax 

Other than your medical check-ups that you need to do, it is important to look after yourself. If you are smoking, drinking or using other substances, now is a good time to quit. Women over 35 that smoke take twice as long to conceive as non-smokers. Also, limit your caffeine intake.  

Find a good exercise routine that is not too strenuous on your body. Exercise is good for the body and soul. You need to have a healthy eating plan with loads of fruit and vegetables. Make sure that you are a healthy weight because obesity and being too thin can cause fertility problems. 

To conceive you need to try and lead a relaxing calm life. Try not to stress too much. Mental health plays a big role in pregnancy. If you are on any medications it is best to speak to your doctor beforehand to see what you can do when pregnant.  

  • Budget  

Children can cost a penny or two. Moneywise you should consider if you can afford private medical care and ask about costs surrounding birth. Your work will also play a role as you will need maternity leave. 

  • Know Your Cycle 

Lastly, know your cycle. You should know when you ovulate so you can plan when you must try and conceive.  

All these steps can seem very overwhelming, not even speaking of the responsibility of becoming parents. Take each step as it comes. It’s a wonderful journey that’s well and truly worth it. Try and enjoy each and every step, because before you know it, it will be more than just the two of you.  

Here is a checklist of every step to guide you. 

Checklist: 

  • Check-Up with Your Doctor 
  • Genetic Screening 
  • Blood Tests 
  • Dentist Appointment 
  • Healthy Lifestyle 
  • Exercise
  • Relax 
  • Budget 
  • Know Your Cycle 

 

References: 

Webmd, Womhealth, Kidspot, Royal women’s hospital 

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