If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, preparing your body in the interim is essential to get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
- Have a preconception checkup. This includes finding a gynaecologist before you get pregnant. This helps you get any chronic medical conditions diagnosed and/or under control before getting pregnant, which in turn minimizes their effects on your pregnancy and baby.
- Start taking folic acid. This can help reduce the likelihood of certain types of birth defects, called neural tube defects (NTD). These are defects in the development of the brain and spinal cord which can affect the normal functioning of the body.
- Begin eliminating known teratogenic hazards from your daily routine (chemicals, x-rays, etc.). Discontinue smoking, caffeine, and alcohol before trying to get pregnant. This is true for both partners.
- Discuss birth control use until you're ready to conceive. Your gynaecologist can help you decide when to stop using birth control so you can figure out when you're ovulating, the time of the month when you're most fertile. If you've been taking the pill for a while, your cycle could be different from what it was before you started.
- Learn about the conception process from your gynaecologist and how to get pregnant. This certainly makes it easier to get pregnant when you both understand how the process works.
- Check with your health insurance provider regarding cover for your pregnancy.While the vast majority of health insurances will cover pregnancy, you should find out what is covered, whether the setup is included in your policy and what your potential out of pocket add on expenses would be. Financial planning for pregnancy will help decrease your stress levels.
- Have your partner join you on a road to good health, including diet and exercise. Both of you working towards a healthy lifestyle make each of you more likely to succeed.
Finally, use this visit to assess your relationship with your gynaecologist and make sure he or she is someone you'll want to continue seeing once you're pregnant. Accessibility in an emergency, easy availability in OPD hours, ease of discussion about your doubts with the gynaecologist, back up system in hospital if the doctor is on leave or indisposed are few factors you must make note of. Remember, you'll be seeing a lot of this person once you're expecting, and you'll need to be able to trust her advice during one of the most important times of your life -- make sure it's someone you totally feel comfortable with.
About half of all pregnancies are unplanned. By planning your pregnancy, you get a jump start on a whole host of things. This includes a potentially shorter time to get pregnant, a healthier pregnancy, fewer complications and painful symptoms, as well as time to think about what all of your options are for your pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum.