If you’ve decided that you want to have a baby, there are things you should do before you start trying. Preparing for pregnancy is a critical step in ensuring you have the best chance of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. If you’re struggling with fertility issues and are about to start treatment, it’s a good idea to look at this list before your treatment cycle to make sure you’re good to go. If you have questions, your fertility specialist will be able to help you answer them.
1. Get a Preconception Checkup
If you are planning on getting pregnant, you should get a preconception checkup. If you’re already seeking fertility treatment, you may have already done this as a precursor to fertility evaluation. If you’re not familiar with preconception planning, then consult your fertility specialist or OB/GYN about getting a preconception checkup. This is an important step when planning for pregnancy because it is a medical checkup that will make sure you’re healthy before you get pregnant. And if you have health issues, a preconception checkup can help identify them and manage them.
2. Prioritize Your Health Now
- Get to a healthy weight: Being underweight or overweight can make it harder to get pregnant because both ends of the weight spectrum can interfere with ovulation. And when you get pregnant, being overweight or underweight can also cause complications. If you are overweight, it’s important to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant because it is not advisable to lose weight during pregnancy. If you need help with a diet and exercise plan to lose weight, talk to your doctor.
- Eat a balanced diet: Having a diet made up of nutritious foods can help you manage your weight. But eating whole foods and avoiding processed or pre-packaged food can help with overall health and fitness. Plus, if you start the habit now, it will be easier to continue after you get pregnant.
- Exercise regularly: Even if you don’t need to manage your weight, you should make regular exercise a part of your routine while preparing for pregnancy. If you already have a routine, you can probably continue it through pregnancy. If you are starting a routine, it’s good to get into it before you start trying to get pregnant. Ask your doctor’s advice before starting any new exercise routines. Also, once you are getting fertility treatments, talk to your doctor about what exercise is safe during your treatment cycle.
- Manage any current conditions: If you have certain medical conditions, you’ll want to coordinate with your regular doctor and your fertility specialist to manage those conditions. Discuss conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or depression. Make sure that any medications you are taking don’t interfere with conception and are safe for pregnancy.
3. Make Necessary Lifestyle Changes ASAP
If you have a lifestyle habit that is getting in the way of a healthy and safe pregnancy, then you need to change those habits while you’re preparing for pregnancy. A big habit that is important to kick before you even start trying to get pregnant is smoking. Not only is smoking bad for you (and babies), it can actually have an effect on the fertility of both men and women. So, if your partner smokes, it’s time for them to quit as well. It’s not easy to quit smoking, so ask a healthcare provider for resources to help you stop. Other habits you need to take control of include recreational drug use, alcohol & caffeine consumption, exercise, and diet.
4. Start Taking a Vitamin with Folic Acid
When you are preparing for pregnancy, get in the habit of taking a vitamin that has folic acid in it. Or take a folic acid supplement. Even if you’re not trying to get pregnant, the CDC recommends that all women of reproductive age should get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet. Folic acid aids in the development of neural tubes in babies. Neural tubes are the beginnings of the central nervous system (spine and brain) in a fetus.
The expert providers at West Virginia Fertility Institute specialize in a variety of treatments for infertility and can help give you guidance as you’re preparing for pregnancy. We combine personalized care with cutting edge technology to help our patients build their families. Call our office at (304) 345-9292 to schedule a consult.