6 Things to Know and Do Before Getting Pregnant
Many women stay away from trying to get pregnant until they get married and decide to start a family. Truth be told, becoming a mother can be a scary proposition. Not only will you have to do housekeeping, go to work, and do whatever a wife does, but you’ll also need to look after your kids, which adds a whole new world of responsibilities.
Whenever a patient comes to ask me about how to prepare for pregnancy, I always give her a checklist of things to consider and know before even trying to conceive, from prenatal vitamins to good sex positions. If you’re too embarrassed to ask your doctor about things to know before you get pregnant, I’ve put together a quick list for you:
Folic acid can protect your baby against a number of conditions he may develop while in your womb, such as spina bifida, an extremely serious malformation of the spine. Many women take folic acid after they’ve already conceived, but this practice is wrong. I always advise my patients to take a folic acid supplement before they even attempt to get pregnant. This helps ensure that your body has a good supply of this chemical right from the start, so your baby will be healthy and beautiful.
I’ve said it — if you want to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby, you should stop smoking right away. In the first place, smoking can make it more difficult for you to conceive. Second, it increases the risk of miscarriage, so it’s possible that even if you conceive, you may lose your baby. Also, cigars are associated with premature birth, and also low birth weight babies.
For the baby’s sake — and yours — ditch the cigars, both you and your partner!
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If you’re one of those persons who can’t live without their cup of Joe, I’ve got some bad news for you — caffeine is bad for you. Going over 350-400mg of caffeine every day can make it more difficult for you to conceive. So instead of getting cup after cup, try not to go over 200-250mg, just to be on the safe side. Choose decaffeinated drinks, or reduce caffeine intake by adding milk or cream to your daily cuppa. Of course, energy drinks should never be an option, as they are extremely rich in caffeine and taurine.
I can understand that a hamburger at McDonald’s tastes absolutely marvelous — who doesn’t? But if you want to get pregnant, it’s time to say goodbye to the hamburger, and welcome healthier foods in your life. These include leafy green vegetables, fruits, and foods with omega-3s, like fish. Also, avoid alcohol at all costs, and cut back on sugar.
In addition to keeping your body’s pH at a slightly alkaline value, a healthier diet allows you to reach and maintain a good body weight and BMI, so your chances of conceiving are dramatically boosted. It’s not so bad to eat a salad instead of that calorie-rich, fat-packed hamburger after all, is it?
For many women, this can sound very common, but I’ve had so many patients that didn’t know when to have sex to conceive! Ovulation is the prime time to have sex if you want to get pregnant. It’s the day when your ovary releases the egg, which has to unite with your partner’s sperm cell. The time of the month ovulation occur varies widely from woman to woman, and both the regularity and the average length of your menstrual cycle determine this. Normally, you ovulate about 12 to 14 days before your next scheduled period. For example, if your next period should start on October 15, then you will ovulate sometime between October 1 and October 3. If your menstrual cycle is regular, then you’ll ovulate accordingly.
But if it’s irregular, you may have to take note of some symptoms to determine when you’re ovulating:
Make sure to write down the dates you ovulate to accurately keep track of them.
Have you been taking birth control pills? If yes, then it’s time to stop, preferably a few months before you try conceiving, so your periods can get back to normal. I usually suggest my patients have sex immediately after they stop taking the pill, as the chances of conceiving are particularly high at that time. If you’re not successful, wait a few months before trying again. You’ll know when it’s time to get busy because your periods will be regular again.
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