The feeling of bringing a new life into this world is truly enticing and overwhelming. This mixed emotion of joy and anticipation can perhaps get nervous and anxious as well. Planning to have a baby can bring numerous questions to your mind. Nevertheless, there are certain things you can do to get yourself prepared. A lot of ‘me’ and ‘us’ time with your partner bonding with the baby even when it is yet to arrive, is crucial.
Here’s what you can keep in mind when planning your family!
- Invest in your health
Getting a health check-up before planning a pregnancy is actually a great idea. Many women don’t know about undiagnosed conditions like diabetes, or thyroid disorder that they may be having. You’ll gain more confidence by getting a GTG from your doctor before planning to conceive. Your doctor may advise to-
- Get a full-body checkup (including blood sugar, blood pressure, thyroid and lipid profile).
- Dental Checkup (good oral hygiene is important during pregnancy, there are chances of pregnancy gingivitis in some women, talk to your dentist beforehand).
- Begin with some essential vitamins.
- If you or your husband are already taking any medications for some ailments, talk to your doctor about their safety before and during pregnancy. Some medicines are considered harmful to the baby and need to be stopped a few months before a woman conceives.
- Folic Acid and iron
Folic acid and iron levels need to be in the normal range during pregnancy. Deficiency of these can lead to anaemia and birth defects in children. Talk to your doctor about the right supplements that should be taken to keep away any deficiencies before planning pregnancy.
- Quit certain habits
Stop drinking alcohol, quit smoking and cut down on caffeine consumption before you plan to conceive. With such things in your system, while you plan to conceive, the baby may have the risk of facing some birth-related problems like infant birth-death, premature birth and other defects.
- Learn about your family history
Having a good knowledge of your family history as well as your partner’s before conceiving can be important for your child’s health. Allow yourself to tell this information to your doctor, so that he may rule out any chances that may harm the baby. If you have suffered from a series of miscarriages or other defects that have prevented you from having a child before, this could also be due to family history. Hence, knowing and gathering information about the same can help you and your child to run the pregnancy trip smoothly.
- Healthy diet and lifestyle
This goes without saying, the question “is it okay to exercise now?” will strike most of you. This would be an excellent time to indulge in a little walking, swimming or any other form of exercise that relaxes you. Some doctors will advise you to get in shape before the right time and get the optimum required to get pregnant to increase your chances for the better. It can be any form of workout that you enjoy or take a class if you find difficulty with maintaining consistency. Ask your partner to join you, which will benefit you both individually while allowing you to spend time together. Start consuming healthy and lean protein, leafy greens, nuts and whole grains. Cutting back on oily and packaged foods would benefit you even further. Take good sleep and stay away from smoking and alcohol.
- Your reproductive health
Before you plan on conceiving, it is always advisable to visit your gynaecologist first to get a check-up done. If you have been on regular birth control pills, you may be asked to stop them at least a couple of months before. Accordingly, you can plan to conceive after, if any, complications are ruled out. Timely checkups are advisable to ensure no complications are on the way. Regular tests and other diagnoses should be expected throughout the pregnancy period.
- Plan smart to manage your finances
Having a baby will bring up new expenses. Managing and balancing your finances while giving importance to savings is important. From diapers and skincare to baby vaccinations, you will be draining a lot out of your wallet without even realising it once your baby comes. You will be expected to have pregnancy medications, monthly checkups and ultrasound scans all of which can cost a lot, which is why you must consider financial planning in advance. Preparing for the newer expenses in advance will help you manage these spending with ease. Find out if your insurance plan covers maternity care.
- Keep hygiene in mind
Maintaining good hygiene vaginally can keep the chances of infections lower ‘down there’ and increase your chances of conception. You may be prone to infections during pregnancy, hence you will need something mild and safe to use below.
- Invest in quality babycare essentials
During the first year of their life, your baby will need tons of stuff as they grow up. Baby clothes, nappies, diapers, food and baby skincare. Buying baby essentials all at once can drill a hole in your pocket. Once you conceive, start setting up an account for your baby and list down the things they will need. Start buying them over nine months of your pregnancy. This pregnancy period can seem like an uphill climb over your emotions, but with things properly planned out, you will be able to have a smooth and healthy pregnancy with your baby safe and sound as he steps into this world.
The entire period of pregnancy and even after you give birth will be one-of-a-kind. Keeping these precautions in mind, investing in your health, incorporating lifestyle changes, and budgeting will all be worth it, especially when you finally have your baby in your arms.
- Seek help and support
Being aware of your health and knowing what to expect during and after pregnancy can help you embrace this journey. Remember that you do not have to do this alone, seek help from friends, family, doctors, communicate with your partner, and speak to other expecting parents. Health concerns during pregnancy are often so centred on taking care of a woman’s physical health that people tend to overlook her mental well-being. Pregnancy is a life-changing event and you are allowed to experience emotional stress. It is only normal, but always address it and never shy away from discussing it with people who can help you deal with your anxiety before you conceive. This is an opportunity to make sure that before and after birth, you and your baby are both healthy and sound.
- Know what to expect
When you are trying to conceive, your psychological and emotional health must be a top priority. While you might be asked to look at the positive side of it, considering the risk factors is also extremely important. Mood swings, postpartum depression etc are commonly associated with pregnancy. If you are someone who has experienced mental health issues in past, you must take extra care of your mental well being when planning pregnancy. Here are some tips-
- Learn and practice breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
- Indulge in a self-care routine
- Practice yoga
- Journalling can be a great way to jot down your entire journey of pregnancy and keep you happy and relaxed.
- Talk to other moms, and family members and remember you are not alone in this.
With ample information available around you, choose only the right information and do not get misled. It is practical to think about your child’s future, factors like more space, a better location, finances or others must be discussed beforehand so that once your baby arrives you know you are well settled and have everything worked out for the baby.