Preconception and pregnancy planning represent an extra precaution contributing to a normal healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby and a happy mommy! Of course, it is not always possible to plan a pregnancy, but it is useful to plan the birth of your child if possible.
Preconception, planning and preparing the pregnancy refer to certain measures such as medical tests for health evaluation in the case of future parents and small changes in lifestyle – especially for the future mommy. Even if everything seems perfect and your health is perfect you are recommended to go visit a doctor and test yourself before preparing for pregnancy. This is mostly recommended if there are certain risks to consider: certain conditions (such as diabetes), previous problems regarding pregnancy, the age of over 35. Planning your pregnancy is important because it makes you feel ready, safer and calmer, which contributes to a safe pregnancy. You must never underestimate the emotional preparation necessary for pregnancy – this reaches completion after you make sure your body is prepared for pregnancy! Planning and preparing the pregnancy will take a few months – your doctor and other specialists will tell you to prepare your body, change your lifestyle and take supplements.
Preconception – what does the medical examination consist of?
The specialist will want to examine your medical history and the medical history of your family in order to search possible conditions or genetic anomalies. The doctor will verify your vaccines for hepatitis, chickenpox, measles and others. A general checkup will follow, including regular blood tests (to find additional conditions and check the iron levels in the blood) and urine tests (to track infections, sugar and protein levels).
If you have a condition such as diabetes, hypertension or asthma, the doctor will give you advice to control the conditions you suffer from during your pregnancy. If you are undergoing treatment, you must inform your doctor (even natural herb teas can affect pregnancy). If you are over 35 years of age, ask your doctor what additional measures you can choose for a healthy pregnancy.
What else is important in preconception? You can ask your doctor about anything that worries you, be it getting pregnant (discuss and ask for advice regarding the possible effects of your former contraception methods in pregnancy) or pregnancy evolution. Feeling relaxed, ready for pregnancy is important, the doctor being the one that can calm you down and help you in this aspect. Ask your doctor about lifestyle, necessary changes, and ask for a nutritional list (certain foods are not allowed during pregnancy).
Preconception – what measures you can choose for a healthy pregnancy:
Today, whether you have a perfect health condition or have small problems, experts recommend, when possible, planning the pregnancy and the physical (and emotional) training of the body for pregnancy for several months. A future mother must make small changes in her lifestyle in order to have an easier pregnancy and birth. What are these changes?
Prenatal supplements. Even before you decide you want to get pregnant, you are recommended certain supplements (the ones you will take during pregnancy). Among the most important and beneficial supplements we mention B9-folic acid supplements, with a role in preventing neural tube defects in fetuses. You should not use these supplements unless your doctor says so; he can also recommend iron, zinc, and calcium supplements if your body’s reserves are not strong enough.
Hydration. You will have to pay more attention to the liquid quantities you consume – around 12 daily glasses of water should be consumed months before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
A healthy diet. You can begin to have a healthy and rational diet – both for your health and to control your weight gain during pregnancy. Have a schedule with three meals a day and 1-2 snacks in between meals. Eat slowly and sitting at the table, not by standing. Ask for a nutritional list with foods you should be avoiding before getting pregnant. Systematically eliminate unhealthy snacks, fat foods and excessive sweets from your diet. Stay away from badly cooked foods: raw meat, shellfish, raw fish, raw eggs and milk (including sauce and mayo). Eat fruits and vegetables daily, especially fresh ones, and well cooked meat.
Avoid caffeine. Although there are different opinions concerning coffee, it is recommended that you minimize your caffeine intake starting with the preconception period. Apparently there is a link between the high intake of caffeine and difficulties in getting pregnant and mishaps. Before getting pregnant and during this period, do not consume caffeine or minimize the intake to almost 150 milligrams – around 230 ml. Green tea is not recommended before getting pregnant and during the first quarter. Caffeine is present in other teas besides coffee and green tea, but also in sodas and chocolate. Artificial sweeteners are not good either, so you should avoid diet drinks and saccharin.
Quit smoking! There is no need to add why it is so important to quit smoking – the sooner the better! About four months before getting pregnant you should lower your number of smoked cigarettes or completely quit, if you can. When you try getting pregnant, try to avoid cigarette smoke exposure.
Give up alcohol! Give up alcohol starting with the preconception period, because alcohol will lower your chances of getting pregnant.
Avoid toxic substances.
Avoid stress. Stress, nervousness, fatigue and mental exhaustion are all enemies of preconception because they lower your chances of getting pregnant. Adopt relaxation methods and avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Extremely important: do not stress yourself with the pregnancy itself or with getting pregnant – you must come to grips with the fact that it will take time and try to live your days as pleasantly as possible.
Exercise! Being in shape and regularly exercising is good for your health, for pregnancy, for an easy birth and recovery. The fitter your body, the better! Start with a simple exercise program you can continue even if you get pregnant.
The future father. Preconception and pregnancy preparation refer also to the future father of your child! He is recommended to have routine medical checkups and a healthier lifestyle (a healthy man has healthy sperm).