Not that long ago, when a woman wanted to get pregnant, she would simply toss aside her birth control and wait for her next period. However, women are becoming savvier, more concerned about their health, and more invested in the health of their future pregnancy.
So, what should you do before getting pregnant?
First, women wanting to conceive should start a daily prenatal vitamin. While there are many different types and brands, most of them are equivalent in providing the necessary vitamins and minerals. More expensive does not always equal better. One should look for folic acid (at least 800mcg), iron (about 25 milligrams), and vitamin B6 (about 10mg). Folic acid has been shown to prevent various birth defects including those involving the spine and brain.
Next, now is the time to give up those vices that you have been meaning to quit. Specifically, smoking and drug use should be eliminated before you conceive. Smoking not only increases the risk of infertility, but it can lead to babies not growing well, premature delivery, and delivery complications. If you are having trouble quitting, contact your physician to discuss methods that may be effective for you.
Lastly, ensuring that your health is the best it can be is important before getting pregnant. Not only are a healthy diet and exercise important, but also chronic illnesses should be well controlled. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, even asthma, if not controlled can lead to difficulties during pregnancy.
If you have questions about your health or steps you should take before getting pregnant, schedule a preconception counseling appointment with our obstetrician team.