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Preconception Checklist

How do you know when it's ready to start baby-making? Although you'll never be 100% ready for a baby, there are steps you can take to make sure that your mind and body are in their optimal state. Before you start trying to conceive, make sure you've covered a preconception checklist.

-How's your health? You need to go to your doctor, and have a complete physical to rule out any medical issues or complications that could affect a pregnancy. Medications are a big consideration, and certain drugs are a no when you're carrying a baby. You'll need to decide whether to stop medications altogether before conceiving, or reduce your dose until you get pregnant, at which time you may need to discontinue them completely. Be honest with your doctor about your complete medical history even if it's the minor childhood illness you don't think really matters, or the embarrassing STD you dealt with in college.

You need to prepare your body for baby: start taking prenatal vitamins at least three to six months before you plan to conceive, and cut down on eating junk food and fatty treats. Monitor your diet and make sure you're getting seven servings of fruits and veggies each day, two servings of protein, and six servings of grains and cereals.

Are you a couch potato? Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program before you try to conceive. If you're out of shape, try lower impact activities like yoga or swimming.

-What's your lifestyle like? Before you try to conceive, you must make sure that you're mentally ready to make the leap into parenthood. If you want to travel the world or move to a new city for a great job opportunity, it might not be the right time to get pregnant.

If you live in a small apartment in the city, and are still struggling to make ends meet, think about the financial obligations of a baby. A baby will rack up a lot of debt if you're not prepared: diapers, food and clothing and think beyond the first few years! Your child will need money for school trips, orthodontics and eventually college or university. If you're scraping by on a smaller income or deeply in debt, it may be a good idea to hold off on the baby plans for a few years.

Having a baby is a personal choice, but you can ensure that you're prepared for the responsibility by following this preconception checklist. The more prepared you are for your bundle of joy, the more positive the experience will be!


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