A Checklist of 10 Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant

Making the decision to begin trying for a baby brings feelings of both excitement and anticipation.

And for most of us, once we do get started we hope to fall pregnant immediately, with patience wearing thin as the months go by.

But while we’re often quick to start checking out maternity fashion and baby name books, many women haven’t really prepared for the important process they’re about to undertake.

Here are the top 10 things to do before getting pregnant:

Start taking Folic acid – taking a minimum of 500mcgs once daily will prevent seven out of ten neural tube defects. Aim to start taking folic acid supplements for two months prior to pregnancy and for the first four weeks following conception at least.

Quit smoking – Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of health problems such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, premature labour and sudden unexpected death in infancy, which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Quit drinking – As it is unknown how much alcohol is safe to drink while pregnant, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends women abstain from drinking if they are pregnant as the safest option, so it’s a good idea to quit, or at least reduce, drinking while trying to conceive.

Improve your diet – Get your body in optimal condition for conception by enjoying a balanced diet with plenty of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, protein and dairy.

Get to a healthy weight – A Body Mass Index of 19-25 is optimal. Women with a BMI above 35 should not be attempting to fall pregnant for health reasons.

Organise your financials – decide on public versus private hospital, and if opting for private, choose a provider and investigate the costs. Make sure your private health covers maternity and consider your budget post baby with one less income stream.

Visit dentist– recent studies have suggested that bad oral hygiene can impact your ability to fall pregnant and increase complications which threaten your ability to carry a baby to full term, so it’s a good idea to visit your dentist before you conceive.

Check your medical history – you’ll need to know all relevant medical facts about yourself and your family. Your doctor will require a comprehensive list of all your current medications and specific doses. Also be prepared to provide details about possible allergies.

Ensure your working environment is safe – make sure you’re not working in a toxic environment with high exposure to chemicals or smoke, and try to avoid heavy lifting. The same applies to home – avoid handling cat litter due to the risk of toxoplasmosis and wear gloves if gardening.

Be sure of your choice and enjoy the process!

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