So you’ve decided to take the plunge into parenthood! But before you jump in headlong, there are some important things you need to do BEFORE you fall pregnant.
For some women, getting their body ready for pregnancy takes a few months. For other women, it might even take longer. Whether this is your first, second, or sixth baby, the following are important steps to help you get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR!
Your doctor will want to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that could affect a pregnancy. He or she will also discuss any previous pregnancy problems, medicines that you're currently taking, vaccinations that you might need, and steps you can take before pregnancy to prevent certain birth defects.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about:
Eg. sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV, diabetes, thyroid disease, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart problems, anemia etc.
Lifestyle and Behaviours:
Talk with your doctor if you smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs - your doctor can help you with counseling, treatment and other support services.
Taking certain medicines during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. These include some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and dietary or herbal supplements. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the need for any medication with your doctor before becoming pregnant and make sure you are taking only those medications that are necessary.
MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) – you should get it, even if you have had it as a child. If you have never had it, you will need two dosages, one month apart.
Adacel Quadra (Tetatus, Polio, Diphteriaand Pertussis) – Pertussis is whooping cough – a major cause of hospitalisation in infants.
Varicellla (Chicken pox) – only if you have never had chicken pox.
Flu – all women trying to fall pregnant and all pregnant women further than 12 weeks should get this.
Hepatitis A and B – it takes six months to complete this course, so start early.
TAKE FOLIC ACID
If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least a month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
GIVE UP DRINKING, SMOKING, AND DRUGS – AND GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT
If you smoke or take drugs, now’s the time to stop. Numerous studies have shown that smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, and low-birthweight babies. Keep in mind that some drugs can stay in your system even after their noticeable effects have worn off.