Your Preconception Checklist
Besides doing the deed with your partner, there are several things you should do before you decide to get pregnant both for your health, your babies health and an increased easiness in conceiving.
___ Family history for both mother and father
___ Blood types of both mother and father
___ Rubella, 5th’s Disease and Chicken Pox immunity
___ Prenatal vitamins
___ Prescription medicines
___ Weight control
___ Foreign substances (smoking, alcohol, drugs)
During your first prenatal appointment your doctor or her nurse will probably just draw blood and ask a bunch of questions regarding your health and the history of health problems in both yours and the father’s family. Questions regarding birth defects, cancer, Downs Syndrome, and other general health questions. If you know these answers ahead of time it will make that first visit go much faster.
The blood type is very important for both you and the baby’s father when you decide to get pregnant. There are rare occasions where the mother and father’s blood type will not be compatible. In this case the baby’s blood type may not be compatible with the mothers. This can cause rejection of the fetus by the mother’s body, or lead to serious problems after the baby is born. Knowing the blood types before getting pregnant can easily solve any problems before they occur.
Diseases such as Rubella, Chicken Pox and 5th’s Disease can be very dangerous to a pregnant women and her baby. There are blood tests that can be done before a woman gets pregnant that tests her immunity to these diseases. If a woman finds that she is not immune to one or more of these diseases she might be able to take the vaccines prior to getting pregnant to assure that she doesn’t get the disease while pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins are very important for a woman once she gets pregnant. They help provide enough folic acid and iron as well as other essential nutrients that the woman will need to help sustain a healthy pregnancy. However, if you are thinking of getting pregnant, it is never too soon to begin taking the vitamins as an attempt to help maximize your health.
Be sure to review any prescription medications that you are currently taking with your doctor before trying to get pregnant. There are several medications that are not safe for you to take while pregnant and could cause harm to the fetus. In most cases there are alternate medications that you can take that are safe during pregnancy.
Before you get pregnant it is a good idea to be at the best weight you can be. A woman who is in the right span of weight for her height will have an easier time getting pregnant and staying pregnant. Women who are over or under weight may have a harder time getting pregnant as their body is not working to its’ full capacity.
Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs
If you use any foreign substances you should stop. Smoking while pregnant can lead to fetal death, underweight babies and cause later health problems such as asthma in your child. Alcohol can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome which can damage parts of the brain. The same is true for recreational drug use. If you are addicted to a drug then your baby can also be born addicted to that drug causing him more long term problems in the future.
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