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Before Pregnancy

Are you thinking about having a baby? Taking care of yourself is the first step.

A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is always important, but much more so when you’re planning to have a baby. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean foods like skim milk, chicken and turkey and avoid eating fatty foods like butter and meat. Pregnant women need 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid each day, which helps to reduce the chance of certain birth defects. While there are plenty of foods – leafy green veggies, kidney beans, and citrus fruits, to name a few – that contain folate, you can also buy vitamins or folic acid pills at your local drug store. If you have any concerns about your nutrition, talk to your doctor. If you drink or smoke, now is the time to quit.

Take Care of You

Taking control of your health and well-being before getting pregnant will help to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy is extremely important. However, it’s not a good idea to increase your activity after you get pregnant, so starting an exercise regimen that you can maintain before getting pregnant is a good idea. Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and try limit the stresses that come up during the day. If you have any existing health conditions, talk to your doctor about them. Diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, need to be monitored before and during pregnancy. Be sure to go over your immunization history with your doctor and get checked for hepatitis B and C, any sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Many of these infections can harm you and your baby. Finally, discuss with your doctor any medications you currently take.

Family History

Are there any health-related or genetic issues in your family? Discuss your family history with your doctor to make sure that you’re monitoring any potential problems. Take some time to talk to your family members about their pregnancies. Did your sister have morning sickness? Did your mom have trouble with labor? These things may not necessarily run in the family, but knowing how your family members coped may help you during your pregnancy.

Take Care of Your Partner

Rather, make sure your partner takes care of himself, too! Drinking, smoking and illegal drugs have been proven to affect men’s sperm and can cause problems getting pregnant. And of course, it will be easier for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle if he joins you.

Planning Conception

Women are more likely to conceive if intercourse takes place just before or just after ovulation, as the unfertilized egg can only live for 12-24 hours in your body. When trying to conceive, there are two natural planning methods to try:

  • Ovulation method: intercourse just before or after ovulation
  • Symptothermal method: evaluating fertility based on daily temperature

Don’t get discouraged if you’ve been trying for a few months with no results. Only 20% of women trying to get pregnant are successful on the first attempt. Be patient and don’t assume anything is wrong.

More about Pregnancy

Before Pregnancy
Pregnancy Do’s
Pregnancy Dont’s
Body Changes
Acceptable Medications
Diabetes Screening