The time has finally come. You and your partner have decided you’re ready to welcome a little one into your family. You can’t wait to start trying to conceive — but there are a few steps you should take first to ensure a healthy pregnancy and improved health for your little one.
1. Visit Your OB-GYN
Even if you believe yourself to be in overall good health, schedule a pre-conception visit with your OB-GYN. During this visit, your doctor will review your medical history for evidence of any genetic diseases you may want to be aware of. They will also assess any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamin supplements you are taking to ensure you can safely continue taking them during pregnancy.
Your pre-conception visit may also include a physical exam to check for fibroids, endometriosis, and other issues that may affect your fertility. If your doctor suspects you may have difficulty conceiving, they can work with you to explore fertility enhancement options that are best-suited to your needs.
2. Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are not just for ladies who are already pregnant. You should begin taking them as soon as you start planning to conceive. Your OB-GYN can recommend a good prenatal vitamin during your pre-conception visit.
Prenatal vitamins are high in folate, a nutrient necessary to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. They also contain vitamin B6, which may help reduce nausea during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Studies also show that women who take prenatal vitamins are less likely to give birth prematurely.
3. Stop Drinking and Smoking
Most women are well aware that they should not drink during pregnancy, but the Centers for Disease Control actually recommend abstaining from alcohol when you’re trying to conceive, too. Drinking, even moderately, could reduce your fertility. Find a non-alcoholic beverage you enjoy, such as sparkling water or green tea, and make it your go-to during this preparation period and during your pregnancy.
If you are a smoker, it is absolutely essential that you quit before you attempt to conceive. Talk to your doctor about medications that can help you quit, and that are safe to take during conception and pregnancy. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, close your eyes and think of your future baby — who is worth making this change for.
4. Eat More of the Right Fish
Many women believe that they should start avoiding fish when they become pregnant or want to become pregnant. In reality, the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration recommend that women trying to conceive eat more fish because it contains DHA, a nutrient that is essential for your baby’s healthy brain development.
Aim for 8 – 12 ounces of fish per week. Just make sure it is a type of fish that is low in mercury. Shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, tilapia, and catfish are all good choices. Avoid swordfish, shark, tilefish, marlin, orange roughy, and king mackerel.
5. Visit the Dentist
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to dental problems such as gum disease and tooth sensitivity. It’s also harder to have dental work done while pregnant — some sedatives are not safe, and your gag reflex may be triggered by the dentist’s hands in your mouth.
Make an appointment with the dentist before you start trying to conceive. They can clean your teeth and treat any issues like gum disease or cavities so you don’t need to worry about these issues during pregnancy.
The time when you’re trying to conceive can be an exciting stage in your life. Start preparing for the arrival of your little one by following the tips above, and contact Womens’s Care Florida Bay View OB/GYN if you are looking for a new OB-GYN in the St. Petersburg area.