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Five Essentials Before You Get Pregnant

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:27pm | by Guest Author

Before taking the plunge into pregnancy and parenthood, wait a second — or month or two, at least — to plan and prepare for a happy, healthy experience. Life will never be the same once you're a parent, so knock these items off your list before you add the title mom to your resume:

Improve Your Diet

Adopt a pregnancy-friendly diet before you conceive so that you can ease into the transition of pregnancy, rather than have to kick all of your bad nutritional habits cold turkey. Web MD recommends avoiding seafood that is high in mercury, such as swordfish and sushi, as well as large amounts of caffeine, drinking alcohol and smoking. But it's not all about the restrictions. To improve your diet, make sure you're getting all of the nutritional supplements you need. Especially important, folic acid that can help prevent birth defects once you become pregnant. This B vitamin can be found in beans, leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereals and prenatal supplements.

Get to Know Your Body

Every woman's menstrual cycle is different, and understanding your own might help you conceive quicker. There are several ways to track your ovulation, including monitoring your cervical mucus, using an ovulation calendar and testing your basal body temperature. You are the most fertile two to three days before ovulation and 12 to 24 hours after, according to Web MD, so knowing when you'll likely ovulate can improve your timing. If you conceive, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced and released into the body. When you take a home pregnancy test, it samples your urine to see if it contains any of this hormone. A pregnancy test from FirstResponse can detect pregnancy six days before your missed period.

Visit the Doctor

Schedule a preconception appointment with your OB-GYN or midwife to talk about any questions or concerns you may have about getting pregnant. WomensHealth.gov recommends making an appointment at least three months before you begin trying to conceive. At this appointment, discuss with your doctor your medical history, your current family planning method and any hazards that are present in your home or workplace.

Chat With Your Mom

Much of our reproductive health is inherited from our own mothers. If you have the opportunity and feel comfortable doing so, take some time to talk to your mom about her pregnancies. Some diseases, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Luteal Phase Defect, can make it difficult to conceive, according to WomensHealth.gov. Ask your mom if any of these conditions run in your family, so you can address them with your medical care provider. Not to mention, your mom will probably have plenty of advice for you before you take this exciting next step.

Take an Adults-Only Adventure

Schedule some time for yourself before you trade in your margarita for ginger ale. This is your chance to head to Europe and see the sights that might bore a young child or head to Hawaii with your partner before you expand your family of two. Take that all-inclusive trip where the only thing you have to worry about is whether you want to lay on the beach or relax in the pool, because the next one you plan might be to Disney World.

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