What to do before your next pregnancy
It is important to take certain steps to reduce the risk for both you and your baby before your next pregnancy. Proper health before getting pregnant is very important. The first few weeks of a child’s development is very crucial. However most women do not know that they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. Planning ahead and taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do before you become pregnant .
One of the most important things you need to do is to go for a preconception care. During this visit , your health care provider asses your overall health and identify potential risk factors that can complicate your pregnancy. By preparing in advance , you can become your healthiest before becoming pregnant. A preconception
care will include the following :
- Family medical history : This is to determine if your maternal or paternal family members have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or any developmental disabilities .
- Genetic testing : This is to assess any genetic disorders since several genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia may be inherited .
- Personal medical history such as medical conditions that may require special care during pregnancy, previous pregnancies and past surgeries.
- Vaccination status : It is especially important to assess your immunity towards rubella ( German measles ). This is because contracting this disease during pregnancy can result in a miscarriage or birth defects. If a woman is not immune, this vaccine will be given 1 month before pregnancy to provide immunity.
- Infection screening : This is to determine if the woman has any sexually transmitted infection or urinary tract infection that could be harmful to baby and fetus.
Other steps that you need to take to reduce your risk of pregnancy complication include the following :
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthy
- Maintain healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Medical management of preexisting conditions
- Preventing birth defects by taking 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid each day, a nutrient found in some green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, and some vitamin supplements. Folic acid can help reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord (also called neural tube defects).
- Take prenatal vitamins daily
- Avoid alcohol and street drugs
- Avoid exposure to harmful substances such as lead and pesticides .
- Reduce your risk of infection by practicing good personal hygiene. During pregnancy you should avoid eating undercooked and raw foods and avoid all contact with cat litter.
Second baby preconception prep. What to expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/getting-pregnant/second-baby-prep.aspx. Accessed November 9th, 2018
17 things you should do before you try to get pregnant. Baby Center. https://www.babycenter.com/0_17-things-you-should-do-before-you-try-to-get-pregnant_7171.bc. Accessed November 9th , 2018