5 Important Things You Should Do Before Having A Baby

By in Pregnancy & Labor on 07 December 2008

If you are thinking of getting pregnant, then you should be thinking about what that to do before even trying to get pregnant. Contrary to what most people know about pregnancy, health professionals have long been stressing out to women to take advantage of the fact that there are things they can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

#1 Take Folic Acid

Numerous studies have shown that folic acid protects your baby from neural tube defects, such as a life threatening spinal malformation called spina bifida. Experts recommend that folic acid supplementation should be started even before conception due to the fact that folic acid is important right from the moment your baby is conceived, and many women find out that they are pregnant only after several weeks have passed(usually after a missed period which is about 4-6 weeks). A woman who is trying to get pregnant can either take prenatal vitamins or multivitamins as long as she is getting a dose of 400 mcg a day of folic acid.

#2 Quit Smoking

There is no doubt about the strict rule of quitting smoking during pregnancy. But, you don’t have to wait until you’re pregnant to stop this bad habit. You should know that smoking lowers your fertility level by directly affecting your ovaries and decreasing your estrogen level, hence making it harder for you to conceive. Smoking can also lead to low birth weight babies, preterm deliveries, and miscarriages. Stopping smoking as early as possible will not only ensure your baby the best chance of survival, but also help you get pregnant faster.

#3 Quit Alcohol and Caffeine

There is an increasing number of scientific evidence linking alcohol and caffeine to birth defects (e.g. fetal alcohol syndrome), low birth weight infants, fetal growth restriction, and miscarriages. As a precaution, it is advised that women trying to get pregnant be free from these potential hazards prior to conception. To be safe, abstain from alcohol and caffeine on the third and fourth weeks after your period starts, since this is approximately the time you ovulate and more likely to get pregnant- then your conception is probably safe.

#4 Have A Preconception Exam

It is important for you to see your doctor prior to getting pregnant for the following reasons:
– to be checked for common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) which can cause major fetal birth defects
– to properly address your pre-existing medical illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma which need to be controlled in order to avoid complications
– to have your immunization status evaluated (make sure you are protected against rubella infection)
– to have your current maintenance medications checked if they are safe for pregnancy

#5 Have a dental check-up

This is important because several studies have linked untreated gum and other oral diseases to preterm birth.

A woman who is considering pregnancy needs to think about all these things. Keep in mind that your personal readiness not only of the mind but also of the body is vital, so your baby can maximize his greatest potential for survival and well-being.

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