Planning your Pregnancy - If you're planning to have a child, you probably feel excited and a little nervous. Motherhood will bring some dramatic and wonderful changes in your life. Pregnancy is both difficult and rewarding, and having a safe pregnancy and birth requires preparation even before you actually conceive. There are some ways to prepare for pregnancy, like visiting a physicians (obstetrician-gynecologist) who will do an overall check-up to determine your health as well as your partner's. Your doctor will tell you whether you should lose or need to gain weight, improve your diet, quit smoking, stop taking birth control pills or other over-the-counter drugs. Basically, your doctor will inform you of the best way to conceive and to bring a healthy child into the world.

  • Check your health
    1. Have an overall physical check-up. A thorough physical and medical examination is essential in preparing yourself for pregnancy. Even if you feel fine about your body, you still have to see a doctor. He can catch a health problem that you might not be aware of. Your partner should also have a physical examination to make sure that he does not have any condition that could affect sperm production. Having you and your partner tested for STD (sexually transmitted disease) would free your future child from any defects. Getting immunization for measles, tetanus and other diseases is also necessary to prevent you from passing on any such disease to your baby. If there are genetic problems in your or your partner's family, have a genetic screening to reduce the risk of abnormality in your child.
    2. Consult your OB-GYNE. an obstetrician-gynecologist is a physician who specializes in women's reproductive health and provides expert care during pregnancy and birth. If you plan to conceive, a full examination by your obstetrician is a wise move. Have a breast check-up, blood test, and Pap smear. Tell your OB-gyne if you are experiencing any menstrual irregularity. She will know the right medication for you.
    3. See your dentist. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may affect even your teeth and gums. Going to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning in one way to ensure a problem-free pregnancy. if you need to have a tooth extracted, do it now-not when you're already pregnant.
    4. Be in your best shape. Regular exercise can make your physical fit. It is wise to get into a fitness program that suits your physical needs so that you won't have any health problems when you're already pregnant. Don't take risk with an unplanned exercise program. If you're underweight, consult your doctor on a fitness routine that is best for you. If you're overweight, don't take drastic measures in dieting for it may be harmful to your health. Have a balanced diet, one that is recommended by your doctor and is the best for your conditions.
    5. Monitor your food and fluid intake. When planning to conceive, be careful in taking foods and liquids. Drinking clean water keeps you healthy while reducing the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. It has been reported that ordinary tap water may be harmful to your baby, so drink only boiled, bottled, or purified water. Don't skip meals. Eat nutritious food every day. Remember that junk food will not give the vitamins and minerals that you and your future baby will need. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them and remove any trace of harmful chemicals. Most of all, take vitamins and minerals that will enhance your fertility and protect you and your baby's health. It is known that at least 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your food supplements will help you have a safe pregnancy. If you need advice concerning a proper diet, consult a doctor or nutritionist.
  • Check your activities
    1. Stop Smoking. If you're a smoker and you plan to conceive soon, throw away those cigarettes now. It is known that the babies of smoking mothers tend to have respiratory problems that may be fatal. Also, if a pregnant woman continues to smoke, chances are that her baby will be born too small or too early due to reduced oxygen supply to the fetus. Smoking may be hard habit to break and quitting may cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and irritability. However, in the long run, a nicotine-free lifestyle will be beneficial to you and your child.
    2. Avoid Alcoholics Drinks. It is not true that a small amount of alcohol is alright if taken before or during your pregnancy. Even a glass of beer may harm the baby inside you. Alcohol is believed to cause birth damage including mental retardation. Take the necessary precautions and learn more about the risk and danger of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
    3. Don't Take Illegal Drugs. Illegal or street drugs are substances used for recreation to achieve an altered state of emotion or consciousness. Any substance, even over-the-counter drugs, can be illegal if misused. Some of the most common illegal substances are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, shabu and Ecstacy. Any of these can alter the natural development of the fetus and cause complications in pregnancy and birth. Thus, it is always better not to take risks.
    4. X-Ray is Harmful. It is during the first three days of conception right after the missed menstrual period that fetal organs are developing. The first three months of pregnancy is the most critical period when most birth defects can occur. That's why any toxic material, chemical, or substance can put your pregnancy at risk. So before having an X-ray, consult your health practitioner. Do not have an X-ray if you suspect that you're already pregnant.
    5. Lessen or Eliminate your caffeine Intake. Caffeine is a strong stimulant that may interfere with conception. Women who consume a lot of coffee, tea and carbonated beverages have a greater risk of suffering a miscarriage. Thus, it is better to reduce caffeine consumption before and during the first three months of pregnancy. Three cups of coffee might be a part of your daily diet. But this has to change if you intend to get pregnant. You may "cheat" caffeine out of your system by drinking decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea instead.
    6. Take Prescribed Medicines Only. Taking medicines other than those prescribed by your doctor may harm your health and affects your ovulation, and consequently ruin your chance of having a safe and healthy pregnancy. If you're feeling unwell and you need medication, consult your doctor first.

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