Planning for Pregnancy and Its Early Stages

Planning for pregnancy is not merely about timing ovulation and trying to conceive. With everything else in your life, once you make a decision you try to plan the best way to follow it through. Whether it is buying a house or getting a university degree, you do your best to make sure that the surrounding conditions are conducive to success. And having a baby is no different. Before you begin, you need to plan for pregnancy.

Healthy Pregnancy Equals Healthy Baby

The most important thing that you need to plan is your health. Remember that having a baby is not only about conception. You need to carry the developing foetus inside you for nine months. During that time, you need to be healthy to carry the pregnancy through. Therefore, in the months before you try to conceive you should look after your health in the following ways:

  • Find a good doctor or obstetrician so that you always have someone to consult with on conception and pregnancy issues
  • Find out if you are overweight. Being too heavy can potentially have a negative effect in pregnancy (Click here for further information.) If so, you should diet and bring your weight down to a normal range. However, do not crash-diet. Consult with a dietitian to find out the best way to diet in a healthy way that will be the best for you and your baby.
  • Whether you are overweight or not, exercise well. Regular exercise is always good for you, and the great news is that you can continue to exercise once you have conceived. Ask at your gym for information on exercises for the first trimester.
  • Even if you do not need to lose weight, eat well. Make sure that you are eating enough and that you are eating the right things. Your meals should be nutritious and healthy. Avoid junk foods and caffeine as much as you can.
  • If you are a smoker, now is the time to stop because smoking is especially dangerous to a developing foetus.
  • Many medical authorities recommend taking folic acid before and after conception because it is believed to prevent the development of spina bifida and neural tube defects. Ask your doctor when you should start and how much you should take.
  • Do you have any medical issues for which you are on constant medication? If so, ask your doctor how it would affect an unborn baby. Tell him your decision to conceive and find out if there is a safer alternative for you. If so, how long before conception do you need to take it?

Another important part of having a baby is your own personal situation. Below is a list of issues that you should also consider:

  • How committed is your relationship?
  • What are your employer’s policies on maternity leave? If you are still at college, what happens to your degree if you take time off to have a baby?
  • What about your home and the area you live in? Are these suitable places for raising a child? If not, would you consider moving to a better area, with good facilities, such as baby clinics and nurseries, before you get pregnant?

Recognising Pregnancy Signs

If you have followed your plan for pregnancy, hopefully you will soon conceive. But how will you know when “this is it”?

Some women have an almost uncanny knowledge of when they have conceived. But for others, it can take a little while. And obviously you will want to know as soon as possible so that you can continue to be careful and look after yourself and your unborn baby.

The most obvious first pregnancy symptom is missing a period. As soon as your period is two days late you are able to take a pregnancy test. However, many women wait until a week afterwards just to be sure and avoid disappointment. And if you commonly find that your cycles are out of whack, you might want to wait a little longer than that.

But even before that, you may have some unusual symptoms, such as fatigue and everyone’s old favourite – pregnancy nausea. Not all women are sick during pregnancy, but many do, or feel slightly sick around food or when travelling. You may also experience some constipation. And sometimes it is little more than a feeling that “things are a little different.”

Finding a Good Pregnancy Guide

If this is your first baby, or it has been a long time since you last had one, you are well advised to buy a good pregnancy week by week book. This will guide you through the next nine months, teaching you what will happen to your body as you go. By following a pregnancy calendar, you will be reassured as you and your unborn baby go through various changes. At the same time, however, do not expect to stick to it religiously. For example, if it takes you an extra couple of weeks to start putting on weight rather than when it says so in the book, do not stress because every woman is different and to a certain extent has her own rhythm.

Nonetheless, a good instructional book will give you general guidelines and you will know when to ask your doctor any pregnancy questions that could arise.

Also remember that nothing in life ever goes 100 percent according to plan. But if you have done your best when planning for pregnancy to make sure that you and your developing baby are well, then you should just relax and enjoy the next nine months preparing for the next stage – the birth of your much-awaited little one.

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