Most women may not have the opportunity or time to think about preconception care as they get pregnant much to their own surprise. But for those who are planning to start a family now or in near future should need to know certain aspects of preconception care.
The moment you decide to get pregnant, start taking folic acid (400 mcg) every day. It is very good for the foetus especially in the early stages. It may take you a month or a year to get pregnant, but there is no harm in continuing folic acid intake as your baby’s organs start developing in the first four weeks of pregnancy, before you may even know that you are pregnant.
Next you may want to schedule a visit to a new or old ob/gyn. Discuss about your pregnancy plans, current health status and any past pregnancy you have had. Share everything with your doctor, even any past miscarriage or abortion you had. Talk to her about your family history, genetics and birth defects if any. Have a check for sexually transmitted infections, if any.
Get your dental check up done. In case there is any pending x-ray test (any test involving radiation) get it done much before you go ahead with your pregnancy plan. If you were taking any other drug for any medical condition, complete the course before you start or atleast let your ob/gyn know about it.
Avoid any sort of exposure to chemicals and hazardous materials or environment (industries, hospital radiation room etc). This may include paints, cleaning agents, insect killers etc. Avoid using chemicals on your body- hair colour, certain creams, bleach, nail polish (if possible), certain lipsticks etc. Avoid contacts with rodents and pets.
Take healthy food, maintain a healthy weight, stop – smoking (avoid secondhand smoking too), alcohol intake and illegal drugs. Cut back on your caffeine intake. All this may have adverse affect on your baby’s health and birth weight.Avoid getting any sort of infection and illness (cold) during this time and as far as possible, avoid any sort of drug intake.
Avoid getting stressed at any time of your pregnancy: preconception, conception and following months. Always make it a habit to take deep breath, so as to clean your lungs and calm your nerves. Do fitness exercises, yogas or simply walk every day for 30 minutes.
Remember, physical health of the would-be mother and father before pregnancy has a direct affect on the health of the future baby. So take care.