There are various milestones in life, and one of the more memorable is deciding to have children. Like all new things, this can be an incredibly exciting and terrifying time for everyone involved. When you prepare for a baby, you can do all in your power to ensure that it is as healthy as it can be, which, in turn, means that you are as healthy as possible before you conceive and while you are pregnant. To help you plan for your first child, bearing in mind, the following factors may be beneficial in terms of planning to conceive.
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With Your Doctor
Before you conceive, have a preconception checkup with your doctor. They will give you a checkup and review your medical file for anything that might be a concern during pregnancy. One of the crucial parts of this checkup will be to take you off any medication that could endanger your baby. This will have to be done before you attempt to conceive, as these medications are stored in your fat and can take awhile to be absorbed and leave your system.
Your doctor may also give you a pelvic exam, Pap smear, and check you for any STDs. If you have any other condition like asthma or high blood pressure your doctor might refer you to a specialist to help you get control over these health issues before you should start attempting to conceive.
Another thing you should discuss with your doctor is to look into a genetic carrier screening. This test will help you see if you or your partner are carriers for a serious illness like cystic fibrosis. If you are both carriers, for example, your child will have a 25% chance of contracting the disease. Either way, being aware and knowing your options is best for you and for your child and can help you prepare for your new child. You could also use this time to check if you and your partner are fertile if you have any doubts about being able to conceive.
From there, your preparation will mostly involve being healthy at home and potentially keeping track of your monthly cycle.
Being Healthy at Home
Being healthy is a must for everyone, but for those women who wish to conceive or who have conceived, your health is more about your needs. You have another entity to nourish, after all, which is why a different diet may be in order.
Some changes to your diet should be done before you conceive. For instance, if you and your partner are actively trying to have a baby, you should take the initiative to quit drinking, smoking, and recreational drug use. Other steps include taking a folic acid supplement (400mcg) for a month before you try to conceive and through your baby’s first trimester. This is a necessary step as the vitamin A helps reduce your baby’s chances of developing neural-tube defects by half.
Generally, however, try to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and exercising are all on the agenda for healthy mothers. For a healthy pregnancy, for instance, it is best if you either gain or lose weight until you are at a healthy medium. Other steps include reducing your caffeine intake, which can increase your risk of miscarriage.
Being Communicative with Your Partner
It can be easy to get frustrated with your partner after you have tried for several months to conceive with no success. Rather than lashing out, aim to communicate your feelings. You cannot expect your partner to be a mind reader and instead should work on expressing yourself with your words. Placing blame on your partner is not going to help but talking about your options and about strategies will. Although this will be a difficult time, there are always options. Working through this time together is how you will either find a solution or get through your pregnancy together.
Learning how to express yourself early on can also help you get through the waves of emotion and fluctuating mental health you will experience throughout your pregnancy. Your stomach, after all, isn’t the only thing that changes. For most, you will experience a wide range of emotions brought on by the hormones during your pregnancy. Expressing how you feel, even if what you feel doesn’t make sense, can help your partner understand and help you through this time.
Tips on Timing
Women are not fertile every day of the month. In fact, we are only fertile for approximately six days. Similarly, men’s sperm can live outside of their bodies for approximately five days. This gives you about ten days where unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy, as having sex the few days before you ovulate could lead to pregnancy the first day of ovulation.
To help you time this right there are ovulation tests you can take so that you can better track your cycle. This can be the easy solution for those couples who have tried to have children naturally with no success.
Another factor that you must take into consideration is how long it takes for women to become fertile after coming off of the contraception. For the same reason that your period can become erratic after you stop taking birth control, so too can your fertility suffer. That is why you should be patient if your attempts don’t work within the first few months. It could take you awhile to get back on your regular cycle. You will know this happens when your period resumes as normal.
Preparing for the Child
Preparing to conceive is one thing, preparing for the child is another. That is why you always want to be financially secure before you start conceiving. While families make unplanned pregnancies work all the time, it is always best to be as prepared as possible. Giving time, thought and planning are essential factors to ensure the baby is welcomed into the world in a stress-free, nurturing and calm environment.