If you want to start a family, there are a number of steps you should take before you even start trying to conceive. Before tossing away your contraception you should ensure that you're in the best possible health. It's important to prepare your body for pregnancy, both to improve your chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy. These are some important steps to take if you want to get pregnant …
Start by ensuring that you're at a healthy weight. Being either underweight or overweight can affect your chances of getting pregnant. And if you do get pregnant it can mean difficulties; being underweight can mean your baby is also underweight, and being overweight can cause complications in pregnancy or delivery.
It's essential to begin taking a folic acid supplement before trying to conceive. This reduces the chance of conceiving a child with spina bifida and other birth defects. Choose a supplement with a minimum of 400mcg. You should also make sure that if you take a multivitamin it doesn't have more than 770mcg of Vitamin A, as too much can also cause birth defects (except when in the form of beta-carotene).
You should also prepare your body for the strain of pregnancy and childbirth by eating a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to get a good supply of vitamins, and also include whole grains and protein sources like nuts and chicken. You should also eat plenty of calcium to strengthen your bones, as if you're eating insufficient calcium the growing baby will take its supply from your bones. Also cut down on your intake of coffee.
Also pay your physician a visit to check out your general health. Any medication that you are taking may be unsuitable for pregnancy. You will also need to be sure that you are immune to diseases that could affect the baby. In addition, you may also need to have your blood pressure checked and a cervical smear test if you have not had one recently.
If you smoke, now is the time to quit. It's not safe for your baby if you smoke at all during pregnancy. As for drinking, a small amount of alcohol won't be harmful while you are trying to conceive, but you should avoid drinking once pregnant. And while trying to conceive, don't drink a lot.
Have you been slacking on your exercise program? You should try to get fit before a potential pregnancy. Walking, cycling and swimming are excellent methods of exercising, especially if you've not been exercising recently. Yoga will also help increase your flexibility.
But your physical health is not the only thing that you should consider. Are your finances healthy enough to support a child? Look at what you can expect to receive in maternity pay or benefits, and how well you can cope without one income. Will you go back to work, and where will you find childcare?
It's really important to get fit and healthy before trying to conceive, not just for the sake of the baby but to improve your chances of getting pregnant in the first place. So make it a priority. How many children would you like to have?
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