PREPARING FOR PREGNANCY
Have a Well-Woman Exam
A pre-pregnancy health exam is important to assess for any health conditions that may interfere with becoming pregnant or affect your pregnancy.
- Important screening tests include a recent pap smear, blood pressure check, and test for anemia.
- Assess for any needed vaccines, especially measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and chicken pox (varicella). Get any necessary vaccines more than a month prior to becoming pregnant.
- Check for any infections that could affect your pregnancy, such as HIV, hepatitis, herpes simplex virus, or other sexually transmitted infections.
- Review your family history and your partner’s family history for any possible genetic conditions that may affect your child, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and muscular dystrophy.
- If you experience irregular or painful periods, a proper assessment is needed to rule out any hormonal imbalances or gynecological problems that could make getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy difficult.
Achieve a Healthy Weight
A healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 19 and 25. Your fertility may be affected if you are underweight or overweight. Achieving an optimal weight will increase your chances of becoming pregnant and lead to a healthy pregnancy.
Optimize Nutrition, Exercise & Healthy Living
- A healthy lifestyle is important when preparing your body for pregnancy and for preventing pregnancy complications.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose wholegrain food products over processed carbohydrates. Choose healthy sources of fats and lean meats.
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin prior to becoming pregnant. Make sure you are getting 800- 1000mcg of folic acid each day to prevent neural tube defects.
- If you take any medications or herbal supplements, discuss these with your provider to check for safety during pregnancy.
- Avoid foods that carry an increased risk of contamination with listeria and toxoplasmosis, such as raw meat, un-pasteurized milk and cheeses, and raw seafood.
- Exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week, and include both cardio and muscle training in your routine.
- Reduce alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking.
- Avoid excessive caffeine intake. Caffeine in moderation is okay.
- Stop smoking and illegal drug use. Smoking can compromise your fertility and increase pregnancy complications.
- Try to reduce stress in as many aspects of your life as possible.