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What should you do before you get pregnant

I have a loving partner by my own and we feel ready for the most responsible step - to create a child. But what do I have to do before I get pregnant?

Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Credit: Nathan McBride on Unsplash

This is the moment in my life where I have a loving partner by my own and we both feel ready for the most responsible step in our joint journey - to create a child. This is the biggest project - to conceive and carry a healthy baby, to raise and raise a new worthy person. Each big project starts with a small step. In this case, to get pregnant, but also to find out what I need to do before then.

Any conscious future parent would make the necessary efforts to do what is best for their baby. There are a few simpler or more complex measures that it is necessary to take before conception - from the vitamins that it is good to drink, to more significant lifestyle changes, thanks to which our endeavor will be crowned with the desired success.

Here's what I need to do before I get pregnant.

In the article you will read:

  • Preliminary visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist
  • What tests it's good to do if I want a baby
  • What vitamins to drink before conception
  • How to eat before getting pregnant
  • Can I eat fish?
  • Preparing your body for pregnancy through sports
  • Visit to the dentist
  • Tobacco smoke, alcohol and coffee
  • Let's see if the environment in which we live and work is safe

Preliminary visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist

Since my partner and I have thought carefully about all the responsibilities that the creation and raising of a child will accompany our lives, and we have accepted them willingly, the first thing i need to do is visit my gynecologist.

On this visit, he will conduct a comprehensive review [ref. 1] of the uterus and ovaries with ultrasound to check that everything is normal.

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Credit: Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

It is important that the doctor is aware of our intentions in order to give appropriate guidance and advice on getting pregnant. That's why it's good to share it with him.

What tests it's good to do if I want a baby

It would be useful to know what my body's general condition is before attempts to conceive. To do this, it is a good idea to visit my GP, get a full blood count (PKK), blood sugar testing, liver enzymes (AST, ALT), general urine testing. For added certainty, my partner and I can both be tested for diseases such as hepatitis B and C, syphilis and even AIDS.

If I am not sure about my immunological status, it is not a bad idea to check if I have immunity against chickenpox [ref. 3] (VZV IgG is examined), rubella, whether I am not infected with toxoplasmosis (carried by animals, especially cats) - these pathogens [ref. 4] are very dangerous for the future baby.

If I suffer from chronic diseases for which I take any drugs, consultation with the doctor is mandatory. Some of these medications may lower my chances of getting pregnant or harming the future baby. There are medications that accumulate and stay in the body longer. Only a doctor can appoint the right therapy in these cases to preserve both his and the health of the fetus.

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If I do not know the rhesus factor [rh+ or Rh-], now is the best time to do a blood group and rhesus factor test.

What vitamins to drink before conception

At least a month before conception, before we start trying for a baby, It is advisable to take 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid [ref. 6] per day.

After consulting her obstetrician-gynecologist, in the first three months of pregnancy itself, it is advisable to continue drinking the tablets to ensure the proper development of the fetus. But it is dangerous to exceed the daily dose, as this can lead to undesirable effects for the baby.

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Credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Folic acid can also be provided with appropriate multivitamins, I just need to look at whether it is in the required amount.

How to eat before getting pregnant

If I haven't thought much about what I'm eating so far, there's no better time for this than the present one. It is important to consider how to eat before getting pregnant, to include in my diet enough fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, calcium-rich foods - that is, milk and dairy products, and to avoid harmful foods that have no nutritional value but are so tempting

It would be nice to refrain from raw or poorly cooked fish (sushi [ref. 8]), meat, eggs, due to the risk of infection.

Can I eat fish?

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And speaking of whether to eat fish: it is a type of food that is good to watch out for.

Therefore, some species of fish should be avoided before and during pregnancy. Such are mackerel, shark, swordfish, as well as fish that we have caught ourselves, because we usually do not know what the chemical composition of the reservoir is and whether it is contaminated.

For pregnant women, it is advisable to eat fish no more than twice a week, and it is of species that do not accumulate as much mercury, such as rainbow trout from kennel, sardines, herring and salmon.

According to experts, canned tuna can be eaten in small amounts and not more than once a week.

Preparing your body for pregnancy through sports

Physical form and weight are important both before conception and in pregnancy. It has been found that overweight ladies and those who are too weak conceive more difficult.

Overweight and obesity [ref. 11] lead to complications during pregnancy itself and childbirth, and in the opposite case - when a woman becomes pregnant with an underweight weight and during fetal wear fails to "catch up", then often the baby is also born with a low weight.

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Sport [ref. 12] is useful in both cases - it helps both lower and increase weight until it normalizes.

If I'm not used to playing sports, I can start with 20-minute walks every day - the road to and from work is perfect for that. Or light gymnastics. Then turn on girritories and sit-ups.

Healthy abdominal muscles will also help me in the process of childbirth.

Visit to the dentist

Due to increased levels of hormones during pregnancy, the gums of many women begin to inflame and bleed. Therefore, excellent oral hygiene is very important to reduce these effects.

Removing all problems on the teeth and gums even before getting pregnant will give me the necessary peace of mind afterwards. For some ladies, visiting the dentist's office is a very stressful experience, and during pregnancy it is desirable to avoid unnecessary stressors.

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Credit: Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Tobacco smoke, alcohol and coffee

Maybe it is not necessary [ref. 13], but there is no denying the harmful influence of cigarettes, alcohol and large doses of caffeine on the body, especially when it comes to pregnancy.

Quitting harmful habits is mandatory if we want a healthy and happy baby. Alcohol and cigarettes are desirable to drop out of our daily lives even before conception has become a fact. As for coffee [ref. 14] - there is no consensus on what the safe dose is. According to some studies, a large amount of caffeine can lead to miscarriage - if we are used to drinking more than a cup of coffee a day, it may be time to reduce the amount even before trying to become pregnant.

Let's see if the environment in which we live and work is safe

Last but not least, let me pay attention to my home and workplace. Some professions expose us to dangerous chemicals, radiation, severe stress - these factors can prove very unfavorable both for attempts to plant and subsequently for our health and that of the baby in the womb.

Although we are used to seeing our home as the safest place, sometimes this is not quite thecase.

I realize that I may not be able to fulfill all the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle - those from my doctor I certainly would not neglect, but the most important thing is that this child be created and raised with love.

  1. Preliminary visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist
  2. What tests it's good to do if I want a baby
  3. What vitamins to drink before conception
  4. How to eat before getting pregnant
  5. Can I eat fish?
  6. Preparing your body for pregnancy through sports
  7. Visit to the dentist
  8. Tobacco smoke, alcohol and coffee
  9. Let's see if the environment in which we live and work is safe

References

  1. Gynecologic Examination, www.msdmanuals.com
  2. Colposcopy. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien. 2013
  3. Varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox) infection in pregnancy. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology. 2011
  4. Influence of infection during pregnancy on fetal development. Reproduction (Cambridge, England). 2014
  5. Negative rhesus factor and pregnancy - is there a danger to the fetus? Puls.bg
  6. Folic Acid supplementation and pregnancy: more than just neural tube defect prevention. Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology. 2011
  7. Vitamin A in your pregnancy diet. www.babycenter.com
  8. Fish Parasites: A Growing Concern During Pregnancy. Obstetrical & gynecological survey. 2016
  9. Fish intake during pregnancy and early cognitive development of offspring. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). 2004
  10. Prenatal exposure to mercury and fish consumption during pregnancy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-related behavior in children. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine. 2013
  11. Obesity, insulin resistance, and pregnancy outcome. Reproduction (Cambridge, England). 2010
  12. Exercise during the childbearing year. The Journal of perinatal education. 2012
  13. Positive lifestyle changes around the time of pregnancy: a cross-sectional study. BMJ open. 2016
  14. Scientific publications on the effect of caffeine during pregnancy.
  15. Impacts of Caffeine during Pregnancy. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM. 2019
  16. Prenatal use of cleaning and scented products and its association with childhood asthma, asthma symptoms, and mental health and developmental comorbidities. The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma. 2019

The author

👩 🔬 Rositsa Tashkova-Kacharova has a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology and Microbiological Control. She completed her Master's thesis at the University of Nantes, France. At that time she painted a Christmas tree of bacteria and inspired the announcement of the first competition for drawing with microorganisms Agar Art. For 3 years she was the editor of the journal Bulgarian Science and continues to write about science and medicine.
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