Deciding you want to try to have a baby is an exciting time, but it is also accompanied by a whirlwind of questions and concerns. You want to make the choices that will help your baby grow up happy and healthy – and the to-do list below is a great place to start.
1. Schedule appointments with your physician and other specialists.
Taking care of your future child begins with taking care of yourself. Schedule appointments with your physician, dentist and any other specialists you see to make sure you’re ready to carry a baby.
2. Stick to a nutritious, baby-friendly diet.
Though you’re not pregnant yet, your body will be better prepared to carry your baby if you fuel it with nutritious, healthy foods before you conceive. You could also become pregnant any time after you stop taking your birth control, so take a few precautions to ensure your baby is safe in the time before you know you are pregnant. Avoid unpasteurized dairy, unpasteurized juices, cold deli meat and raw or undercooked fish and poultry. You should also limit your caffeine intake, and avoid mercury-rich fish such as swordfish, King mackerel, and tilefish. Limit white (albacore) tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week. Instead, opt for salmon, trout, herring, pollock and sardines. Drinking alcohol, smoking and drugs should also be eliminated.
3. Reduce your exposure to environmental hazards.
Avoid strong cleaning products, pesticides and solvents as you do basic household tasks. You should also avoid contact with any sort of chemicals or radiation.
4. Stay active.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Your workout doesn’t have to be strenuous, it simply needs to get your heart rate up, and it needs to be something that you know you’ll make time for. Walking, running, cycling or yoga are all popular options.
5. Make a plan with your physician.
During your preconception appointment with your OB/GYN, your physician will evaluate your current lifestyle, health and medical history to create a conception plan. This will include when you’ll stop your birth control, when you’ll start a prenatal vitamin and how you can address any health issues you may have.
A happy, healthy baby begins with a happy, healthy mother. At Baptist Health, we offer you the support and resources you need to prepare yourself for pregnancy. Download the Preconception Care Handbook for more information.