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How to Plan a Healthy Pregnancy

by R. Carnavale | February 2nd, 2015 | Pregnancy

pregnant (400x400)Once you’ve decided to get pregnant, your goal is to have a healthy pregnancy and to get the process rolling as quickly as possible, so some preconception planning is in order. The first thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your health care provider, especially if you’re in your 30s or 40s or if you have any special health concerns. The type of birth control you’ve been using will be a key factor in determining when you’ll be ovulating again. If you’ve been using birth control pills, you can expect to start ovulating two weeks after you stop taking them. If you’ve been using long-term birth control methods like injections or progestin implants, it may take longer to return to being fertile.

Be sure your vaccines are current because the last thing you want to have happen is to contract a disease that will that threaten your unborn baby’s health; think chickenpox (varicella), German measles (rubella) and hepatitis B.

If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma, now is the time to get your health problem under control. See your doctor about adjusting your medications and about any special regimens you should follow during your pregnancy.

Do you take supplements or medications? If so, tell your health care provider about your pregnancy plans in case your dosages or medications need to be changed.

Start taking prenatal vitamins like One A Day Women’s Prenatal Vitamins, which are available on-line and in drugstores. Prenatal vitamins are an insurance policy against your baby’s developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which happen during the first month of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.

To rule out the possibility that you’re carrying a sexually transmitted disease that can hurt your chances of conceiving and harm your unborn baby, get yourself screened for gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.

If your family has a history of hereditary medical conditions or birth defects, visit a genetic counselor for a preconception assessment.

If you’re underweight or overweight, drink alcohol excessively, use drugs or smoke, ask your health care provider to provide you with ways to change those lifestyle habits that can affect your ability to conceive and carry a child.

Your partner’s health is also important because there are things that can cause his sperm count to be low and affect the quality of his semen, which can make it hard for you to get pregnant. So, if relevant, ask your partner to limit or eliminate his alcohol, tobacco, steroid and drug use and to visit his health care provider for advice on becoming healthier.

Look for a care provider who specializes in prenatal care for that extra layer of expertise to guide you through the conception and pregnancy process.

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