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Preconception Lifestyle Checklist

Preconception Lifestyle Checklist


Are you ready for pregnancy? It is important that you pay attention to your preconception health, to provide your baby-to-be with the best chance possible. Here is a checklist of what you need to do before you conceive:

See your doctor. Make an appointment with your physician for a physical exam, and to update your vaccinations. Your health care provider will perform a series of tests to rule out sexually transmitted disease and potential fertility problems. If you are taking any prescription medication, you will probably need to stop before you get pregnant, as many drugs are not safe for a developing fetus.

Birth control should be stopped three months before you plan on conceiving. Your body needs a break from birth control pills or an IUD before conception, so discuss alternate methods of contraception if you do not want to become pregnant right away.

Your dental health is also essential to pregnancy. Your dentist will want to take x-rays, as you cannot be exposed to radiation when pregnant. There are studies that have shown a correlation between gum disease and premature birth, so schedule a cleaning and take care of any problems before you get pregnant.

Vitamins and supplements. There are so many prenatal vitamins on the market, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Women of childbearing age should be taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, and also need to increase their intake of iron and vitamin B.

Change your lifestyle. Stop using tobacco, alcohol and drugs prior to conception, as these can impede fertility and cause damage to a fetus. Switch to decaf if you are a coffee drinker studies have shown that caffeine can lower your odds of conceiving, and use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or hyperactivity in your child.

Your diet must consist of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low fat dairy products. Limit fatty and sugary foods, and stay away from soft cheeses and raw shellfish. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3, but do not eat fish like marlin or swordfish, which are high in mercury.

If you are overweight, you must get to a healthy weight before you conceive. There are numerous pregnancy complications associated with being overweight, including hypertension and diabetes. You won't be able to diet once you conceive, so walk off those extra pounds now, and choose low fat foods for your meals.

 


 
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