6 Things You Should Do Now Before You Get Pregnant

Health Check 18

pregnancy testYou've deliberated long and hard with your spouse and it's time: You're ready to start a family! Time to make the baby. Whee! For most people this is the easy part, right? Just stop using birth control and just -- well, you know what to do. BUT WAIT! Don't throw those birth control pills away quite yet.

There's a few things every couple should do before they try to conceive. (Or, for that matter, if you're sexually active -- Tequlia Sue and Fertile Myrtle.) You'll want to make sure you're in good health before you start that baby making. Here's a few things you should put on your to-do list.

1. Take folic acid. If you're not already taking this supplement, start taking 400 micrograms now and keep taking it through your pregnancy. It can help prevent a certain kinds of birth defects. You can get folate from green leafy vegetables and enriched grains, too.

2. Get a full preconception checkup. Tell your doctor you'd like to start trying to have a baby. Here's a handy checklist of things you should bring up on this visit.

3. Consider safety part of health. Does your husband or boyfriend have a history of domestic abuse? Don't think it'll stop when the baby comes. Address this now, before you bring an innocent child into the picture. Babies don't "fix" or "cure" abuse.

4. Kick bad habits. Any additions, drug abuse, drinking problems, smoking, etc. get the help you need to quit NOW.

5. Get in the best shape you've ever been in. Consider this training for an athletic event. You need your body to be at its healthiest, so be eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest now. 

6. Look at your family health history. This includes both sides. Are there health issues or conditions you could be passing on to your future children? Talk this over with your doctor.

What other health-related issues should couples address before conceiving?


Image via On The White Line/Flickr

pregnancy health, trying to conceive


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teddy... teddysmama09

I agree with most of these,  but I think number 5 is a little over the top. Yes, you want to be healthy before and during pregnancy, but you don't have to start a strenuous exercise regime. In fact,  pushing your body too far beyond what your accustomed to could actually make it harder to concieve. It's better to just make sure you're eating healthy and maybe go for a nice brisk walk. Of course if your extremely overweight it's best to start an exercise regime well before you ttc to get to a healthy weight, but other than that, just doing some yoga and keigles should suffice.

abra819 abra819

^ ^ I was going to say the same thing :)

tuffy... tuffymama

Eat cleanly! A lot of soy in your diet can prevent conception and feminize male fetuses. GMOs and pesticides can cause learning disabilities and even birth defects. Too many grains (especially wheat) can lead to diabetes and other health problems. Eat sensibly and eat organic. It really is best for mama and baby.

Prepare for prenatal and postpartum depression now. Talk to your doctor about supplements and simple lifestyle changes to head depression off at the pass. Magnesium citrate and vitamin D3 changed my life. These are good supplements for EVERYONE to take.

linzemae linzemae

Extra folic acid destroyed my stomach. I have a friend who is ttc and it did the same to her

Alaina Quist

i would like to add take a vacation with your man to someplace sexy

Jennifer Reynolds

These are some good tips, but I think it missed one of the most important things, EVALUATE YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. Sadly, the last thing many couples think about when planning for a family is just how much money it will cost to raise a child. Ironically, we live in a society where people are expected to be responsible when it comes to most things that require major money investment: buying a house/car, starting a business, furthering education, etc., but when it comes to having kids, which can cost more over a lifetime than any of those things above, the attitude is just do it and deal with it, because someone else will always pick up the slack if need be. This is a very irresponsible way to look at it. Sure, there is a point you have to be realistic that you'll never afford to have kids if you wait until you've got thousands of dollars sitting away, but you do need to be reasonably sure you'll be able to get by.

Jennifer Reynolds

What's your money situation now? Do you pay all your bills and necessities each month with ease and still have some money left over or do you struggle to keep the lights on and still have money to pay for groceries? What kind of an insurance plan do you have and what does it provide for maternity care? Prenatal care and delivery will cost thousands of dollars, can you afford the co-pays and your (on average) 20% of the hospital bill? Don't have insurance? Yeah, not a good time to plan for a baby.

Jennifer Reynolds

What about childcare costs? Will one of you be able and willing to stop working and stay home with the baby? Is there someone who will gladly watch your child free of charge? If no to both look into how much daycare is in your area. Can you afford at least a $100-$200 a week or more? What about maternity/paternity leave? If you're in the U.S., do you qualify for FMLA benefits (which excludes a very significant portion of the workforce)? The mother will certainly have to take a few weeks off to recover, even if not the standard 6-8 and if the employer is unable to do without her for that long, she may not have her job anymore. Plus can you afford that time off work? What if something happens in your pregnancy and you have to take off sooner? Do you have any short term disability benefits, vacation hours, sick hours, etc to fall back on for your time off?

Jennifer Reynolds

Maternity leave is almost never paid so you have to consider that. Investigate the cost of everything your baby will need, a car seat, blankets, clothes, toiletries, a crib or other safe place to sleep, a TON of diapers, which run about $20-$25 a box for about 100, and oh yeah, will you breast feed or bottle feed? Formula can easily cost well over a $100 a month. Even if you plan to breastfeed, what if it doesn't work out and you have to switch to formula? That's all just bare necessities. Be prepared for everything and PLAN for all this.

Jennifer Reynolds

Family Planning is about much more than planning your bedroom fun around your ovulation cycle, it's about looking into all aspects, financial and otherwise, of child rearing and preparing for how they will change your life. DO NOT take for granted you will just be able to rely on family, friends, or the taxpayers to buy you everything or take care of every expense you can't afford, because that may leave your family up a creek without a paddle. You have to go into this preparing to do most of it on your own, if you get help, all the better. What costs can you cut to be able to afford what you're going to need? Get caught up on your bills, eliminate as much of your debt as possible(especially credit cards) learn to be frugal with your money, and SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. The more money you have in the bank before you get pregnant, the better off you'll be.

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