Planning for Pregnancy: 5 Important Steps

If you want to have a baby, there are some things you should consider before you get pregnant

Taking concrete actions before trying to conceive can greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll have a positive outcome — including having a healthy baby — which is the most important outcome of all.

In this blog, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, explains five important steps you should take before conception.

1. Take a look at your lifestyle habits

You probably already know that smoking and drinking aren’t good for your health. But these bad habits are very damaging to a developing baby, too. So if you do them, you should quit if you’re trying to conceive.

It goes even beyond the fact that these habits are unhealthy for a developing baby, though. Even smoking just a few cigarettes a day can prevent you from getting pregnant or may cause complications if you do get pregnant, such as having an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a pregnancy grows outside the womb. If you’re having trouble with quitting smoking, Dr. Weyhrich can help.

2. Take folic acid daily

Taking 400 milligrams of folic acid every day is one of the easiest and most important things you can do when you’re considering getting pregnant. Folic acid is a B vitamin, and it’s important to have adequate levels of this vitamin in the month before you get pregnant as well as throughout your whole pregnancy.

Folic acid is important, because it can prevent major birth defects of your baby’s body and spine. It’s never too early to start taking this vitamin. In addition, folic acid is water soluble, meaning that you won’t be at risk of taking too much, because you’ll just urinate out whatever your body doesn’t need.

3. Reach and maintain a healthy weight

The majority of Americans can stand to lose a few pounds, women included. But if you want to get pregnant, there's an added reason why you should get to a healthy weight: excess weight presents risks to both you and your baby.

For example, having a high body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy can increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, or suffering a miscarriage.

Furthermore, prepregnancy is the perfect time to develop healthy eating habits and to establish good exercise habits, because soon you’ll be responsible for passing on these good habits to your child.

4. Learn your family’s health history

If you don’t already know about your family’s health history, now is the best time to learn. Certain family health conditions may be passed on to your child, such as heart defects or sickle cell disease.

Depending on the extent of your family’s health history, Dr. Weyhrich may also refer you to meet with a genetic counselor before getting pregnant.

5. Make a doctor’s appointment

Contrary to what you might think, the best time for a first visit with an obstetrician isn’t when you get a positive pregnancy test. Actually, the best time to schedule a visit with Dr. Weyhrich is before you get pregnant, when you’re beginning to think about it.

During this preconception visit with Dr. Weyhrich, he’ll consider all aspects of your physical and mental health and advise you on the best actions you should take before getting pregnant. For example, you may need to revisit some of the medications you’re taking or avoid certain environments if they’re toxic.

You naturally want to do everything you can to make sure your baby will be healthy and your pregnancy will be uncomplicated. The best way to achieve these goals is to first schedule an appointment with Dr. Weyhrich to help you create a plan. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with the office of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, today.

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