Preconception Planning: Why Is It Important?
Making the decision to have a baby is no minor feat. It is a lifetime commitment that you and your partner must go through. And if you want to make the most out of it, you need to plan things ahead of time.
Preconception health and care are important things to focus on when planning to get pregnant. Moms need to be healthy to have a healthy baby.
Every woman’s body is different. For some, getting pregnant may be a walk in the park. For others, not so much.
No matter how you get pregnant, though, one thing’s for sure. Prepping your body for pregnancy is highly important.
When to Start Planning for Pregnancy
The best time to start planning for pregnancy is today.
Whether you want to give birth this year or after ten years, it’s best to practice positive health habits as early as possible.
Starting preconception planning early can benefit both you and your baby. By cleansing your body of unhealthy and toxic substances, you are creating a healthy environment for you and your future child.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Make a Plan—and Commit to It
Before anything else, you should prepare yourself for pregnancy even before becoming sexually active. Jot down your goals about having or not having children and how to achieve them.
If you’ve committed to bear a child, take the necessary actions to achieve that goal. Commit to staying healthy for your future baby no matter what.
Most importantly, include your partner on your preconception planning. It’s important that your partner has the same level of commitment as well.
2. Talk to Your Doctor
Now’s the time to have frequent visits to your OB. Your doctor will be a huge part of your journey to get pregnant.
During your visits, you and your doctor will discuss your health and family history and how it will affect future pregnancies.
Your doctor will also assess your overall health. First, he or she will take your baseline health indicators. For instance, your doctor will take your blood pressure using a medical sensor to keep track of your records.
Regular checkups are also the perfect time to know which vitamins to take to achieve a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid, for one, is an essential preconception and prenatal vitamin that lowers your baby’s risk for birth defects.
3. Quit Bad Habits
Ditch unhealthy habits as early as possible.
Cigarettes and alcohol are toxic for pregnant mothers and those who are just planning to conceive.
Smoking can age your eggs, which makes it more difficult for you to have a baby. Plus, it increases your risk for a miscarriage.
Meanwhile, alcohol is known to mess up your menstrual cycle and possibly interfere with fertilization.
Steering clear from these habits months before getting pregnant also makes it easier for you to quit.
4. Achieve a Healthy Weight
People who are underweight or overweight are more at risk for pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
To prevent these, women who plan to get pregnant need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight—but not through short-term diet changes.
Women need to switch to a healthier lifestyle that includes a properly balanced diet and regular exercise.
Talk to your doctor to know more ways on how you can cut or add a few pounds before getting pregnant.
5. Avoid Stress
Try to avoid stress as much as possible. Elevated stress levels can affect your baby-making abilities.
Stress triggers adrenaline, which inhibits the body to use progesterone—a vital aspect of fertility.
Chronic stress also ups your cortisol levels, which prevents the body to release GnRH—a main sex hormone that promotes healthy ovulation.
Stress is a daily part of life, but too much of it will not do your preconception health any good. Make sure to get a break every once in a while to re-energize your body and mind.
Take it Slow
Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Taking things slow is also one way to keep stress at bay. Just remember to prioritize your health, and the rest will follow.