Having a baby is like taking the next big step in your life. But before taking the big decision, you need to be physically and emotionally prepared. Here is what you need to do before going ahead with the idea. If you are planning to extend your family, it’s time that you seek expert advice.
This is vital as preconception care helps to analyse your health, and check for any potential risks that may appear during or after pregnancy. It is best to first consult a doctor or a preconception counsellor or a gynaecologist. They will guide you in the right direction, and also advice you on things necessary for getting pregnant. You should discuss about the following things with your preconception counsellor or gynaecologist:
- Discuss about your reproductive history that may include details about any previous pregnancies, menstrual history, use of contraceptives, any sexually transmitted diseases or vaginal infections in the past.
- Share your medical history that includes health issues or hereditary diseases in the family such as diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid, etc. with the doctor, so that they can be treated before you get pregnant.
- In case you have had any surgeries, transfusions, or have been hospitalised before, bring it in your doctor’s notice. A history of previous gynaecological surgery can affect the upcoming pregnancy period.
- If you are undergoing any medications currently, do inform your doctor about them, as he may change the course of your medicine accordingly to prevent birth defects in your child.
- It is very important to share your family history, as there might be some heredity factors that may affect pregnancy or your baby’s health.
- You should have an ideal weight before you plan to conceive. Lose some weight, in case you are overweight to reduce risks and complications, or gain some pounds if you are underweight to avoid the risk of delivering a low birth-weight baby. Also, unhealthy weight can imbalance the production hormones in the body, disrupting ovulation, and thus, reducing the chances of getting pregnant.
- Tell the doctor about your lifestyle and habits. Your lifestyle also influences your pregnancy. The aim is to get rid of bad habits that may create complications like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Share your daily diet plan with your counsellor. It is ideal to have a balanced diet when you step into the pregnancy phase. Eat fibre-rich foods and get enough calcium, folic acid and other nutrients that are necessary before and during pregnancy.
There are chances that your doctor may ask you to undergo the following tests to examine your health for conceiving:
- He may ask for a physical examination where he may assess your heart, lungs, breasts, thyroid, and abdomen. He may also recommend a pelvic exam and Pap smear test.
- A chart of your menstrual cycles may be maintained. It will help in detecting your ovulation days as well as determine when you are most likely to get pregnant.
- Vaccinations may be checked by him. In case, you are not protected against rubella or chickenpox, your doctor will ask you to take the required vaccines.
Before taking any big decision in life, it is best to look at all the aspects of the situation and then act accordingly. Same applies to planning for a baby. Consult your doctor, discuss and learn about all the possibilities of getting pregnant before rushing for it.