During the pre-trimester period, there are several things you should do before you try to conceive. Here is a to-do list for this very special time!
Counseling is recommended before pregnancy
All women should be counseled to seek medical care before attempting to become pregnant. Many chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, psychiatric illness, and thyroid disease have implications for pregnancy outcomes. Managing medical isues before pregnancy is safer than during pregnancy. All prescription and nonprescription medications should be reviewed during prepregnancy counseling. This review also should include nutritional supplements and herbal products that women may not consider to be medication use but could affect reproduction and pregnancy.
Screening for genetic conditions
Women who present for prepregnancy counseling should be offered screening for the same genetic conditions as recommended for pregnant women.
Seeing a doctor as soon as pregnancy is diagnosed
In addition, women should see a doctor as soon as they believe they are pregnant. This helps to do correct pregnancy dating and to be monitored for any medical conditions in which treatment should be modified during pregnancy.
Finding out if you and he are fertile
Part of the preconception evaluation is to find out whether you and he are fertile. That usually means you start off by making sure that you ovulate regularly and that your menstrual cycles are normal anmd that his sperm count is normal? Should he get tested for his sperm count? It's better to find out that his count is normal than to wait many months before you find out that he is not ferile.
This also measns that both of you get educated about your fertile days and learn more about how to ensure you have sex regularly to improve your pregnancy chances.
- How to check for ovulation
- Check your fertile window
- What is a normal sperm count
- More about fertility testing
There are many diseases that are potentially dangerous in pregnancy, both for the mother and the baby. By making sure your vaccines are up to date you reduce the risk of later complications.
All women of reproductive age should have their immunization status assessed annually for:
- tetanus toxoid,
- reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap);
- hepatitis B; and
Additionally, all women (and men) should receive an annual influenza vaccination.
Since these conditions are preventable it is important that you take the steps necessary prior to conception to ensure you do not contract these diseases. By making sure your vaccines are up to date you reduce the risk of later complications.
At the preconception visit, women should be assessed for the need for sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and chlamydia.. Those with potential exposure to certain infectious diseases, such as the Zika virus, should be counseled regarding travel restrictions and appropriate waiting time before attempting pregnancy.
There are different classifications for medications that depend on how safe they are for expecting mothers. It is important that you tell your doctor all of the prescription and non-prescription medicines you are taking as well as any herbal supplements.
Preparing for a baby is about far more than just setting up that beautiful room.
If you are currently taking anything that could have a harmful effect on the baby, your doctor will need to find an alternative medication or have you stop taking them altogether. This is also the time to start taking prenatal vitamins because it is during the first month of pregnancy that many of these vitamins are vital to the development of the fetus.
Alcohol, smoking, and other bad habit
All women should be routinely asked about their use of alcohol, nicotine products, and drugs and it should be recommended they stop before trying to get pregnant including prescription opioids and other medications used for nonmedical reasons. Marijuana is contraindicated before and during pregnancy.
Everyone should be screened for deporession and other conditions. This includes screening for domestic partner violence.
Diet and supplementation
All women of reproductive age should have 4-800 mcg folic acid supplementation to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) and other pregnancy complications.
Women should be screened regarding their diet and vitamin supplements to confirm they are meeting recommended daily allowances for calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B, vitamin D, and other nutrients.
Weight loss, exercise, and othjer lifestyle issues
Before attempting pregnancy, women should be encouraged to try to attain a normal body mass index (BMI), because abnormal high or low BMI is associated with infertility and maternal and fetal pregnancy complications. Before attempting to conceive, moms will want their bodies to be the epitome of health. Losing any excess weight and adopting a healthy exercise regime can help to make the pregnancy and birth processes far easier. Taking a prenatal vitamin for a few months before conception helps to build optimal levels of vitamins, nutrients and folic acid in the body. Folic acid is most important during the first few weeks after conception and helps to prevent neural tube defects of the fetus.
Exercise programs adopted before conception can be maintained for the length of the pregnancy. In addition to normal exercises, Kegel exercises will help during the birthing process. Kegel exercises are used to tighten the muscles used to push the baby out during childbirth.
Preparing for a baby is about far more than just setting up that beautiful room. The female body will undergo dramatic changes immediately after conception and for the ensuing 40 weeks of fetal growth. The idea is to prepare the body before the baby is conceived and make the growth process all the more enjoyable for mom and for baby. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, talk with your gynecologist.
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