Some pregnancies are unplanned and people react and start to worry that maybe they are living a lifestyle which is not quite suitable for pregnancy, such as drinking alchohol, smoking, or eating the wrong diet.
If we approached planning a pregnancy as particular as buying a new car or house then we would invest a lot of time, energy and research in the preparation. The ideal would be the longer the preparation the better, but at least a minimum of three months preparation would be advisable. It should be a holistic approach for those taking part in this planning, ensuring the optimal outcome for a successful pregnancy. This would target not just the physical aspects but the psychological and emotional side of having a baby.
The physical preparation for parents to be would be a health wellbeing check up with your GP to take a look at:
  • Your general health
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Cervical smear tests
  • Rubella status
  • Any underlying health issues that may affect fertility
  • Routine blood tests to check iron levels and thyroid levels
  • Liver function tests, or to see if any predisposing medical conditions warrant a referral to a specialist now that you are considering pregnancy.
Taking Folic Acid at least 12 weeks before conception and up to 12 weeks of pregnancy is a good idea, as it decreases the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. This can be taken by tablet or through eating plenty of dark green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach.
Eating a good balanced diet, with good quality fats and proteins, including eggs and vegetables is important. You should also do an audit of your diet to ensure you nourish yourself and are ready to nourish a growing fetus. You should do an audit of your alchohol intake, and if not being totally abstinent then a decrease would be advisable, or drinking iron enriched alchohol such as Stout intead. A decrease in caffeine such as in coffee, tea or soft drinks or avoiding drinking caffeine before bedtime is also advisable.
With regards to smoking, the ideal situation would be to give up, but if you are unable to, try to decrease amount of cigarettes smoked, and seek support and professional advice in giving up smoking. If habitual or social drugs are taken, seek professional help and support, from GP or support groups.
Review your exercise regime and swap extreme high intensity sports/gym work to a gentle and enjoyable exercise regime such as swimming or walking. Check in with your body.
Think and write down your thoughts and feelings about becoming pregnant, being pregnant, the birth and becoming a parent, all the aspects and what you feel you may need to do to deal with any issues, fears or anxieties and discuss them with your partner or if not with a friend, family member or professional if required. Get a good supportive network of people around you, join groups that you feel are beneficial to you at this time.
Think and visualise yourself being pregnant, holding your baby and find ways to relax and to be calm.