Preparing for a healthy pregnancy starts with preconception care, a type of medical care that focuses on helping women have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Preconception care is tailored to each woman and typically includes meeting with your health care provider to discuss and plan for a healthy pregnancy. Here are some tips for preparing for pregnancy to ensure you and your baby will have the best possible start in life.
Understand Your Health History
Before starting any pregnancy planning, it’s important to have a better understanding of your family’s health history—including any medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that could affect your pregnancy. Also, talk to your family members to learn more about any genetic issues that you may need to consider, since some genetic disorders are reliant on family history. You should also become aware of any medications you regularly use and check with your doctor to make sure they’re safe to take during pregnancy.
Get Checked Out
Your doctor will probably recommend preconception exams and tests to check for any underlying health conditions or illnesses. Understanding your health before you become pregnant helps your doctor identify any health issues that must be addressed before you become pregnant. During your preconception visit, also be sure to talk to your doctor about any lifestyle changes you can make—this includes quitting smoking and using other forms of nicotine, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising and handling stress—to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
Improve Your Diet
Maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet before and during pregnancy is important for ensuring your health and the development of your baby. Make sure you get adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, to help protect your baby from neural tube defects. Before you become pregnant, your doctor can recommend good sources of these essential nutrients and determine if you need additional supplements to ensure sufficient intake.
Vaccinate Before You Conceive
Certain vaccinations are recommended before you get pregnant in order to protect you and your baby from certain infections. This includes vaccinations for measles, rubella, chickenpox, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Make sure you get any recommended vaccinations before you become pregnant to reduce the risk to your baby.
Manage Medical Conditions
If you suffer from any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid disorders, it’s important to make sure they’re well managed before you become pregnant. Working with your doctor to ensure your medical condition is properly monitored and managed before you become pregnant is essential for protecting both you and your baby.
Preconception care is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy
Taking the time to prepare for a healthy pregnancy is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome for both you and your baby. Becoming aware of your family’s health history, getting checked out, improving your diet, getting vaccinated, and managing any medical conditions should be top priorities for pregnant women. Preconception care will help ensure you and your baby have the best possible start in life.