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Your Pregnancy Planning Checklist

The time to start planning for your pregnancy is months before you conceive. To give your baby the best start in life, you want to be as healthy as you can be before you conceive. The following are some of the things you should consider before you begin trying to get pregnant.

First of all, you need to be properly nourished and at a healthy weight. For some women, this many mean gaining or losing a few pounds. Even if youíre at a healthy weight, it may mean making healthier choices and avoiding empty calories. You should also start taking a prenatal vitamin at least one month before you plan to start trying to conceive.

You should plan to have a full checkup with your doctor before you begin trying to conceive. Any preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure, hyper- or hypothyroidism, or diabetes, should be in control before you conceive. If youíre taking any other prescription medications, talk with your doctor about whether theyíre safe to continue during pregnancy or if youíll need to change medications. Normal well woman care, such as a pap smear and mammogram, should also be completed before you become pregnant.

In addition, if your immunizations arenít up to date, you should take booster shots before you become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about any immunizations you might not have had, such as Hepatitis B or cytomegalovirus and see if your doctor thinks those things would be beneficial for you.

Plan to see your dentist before you conceive as well and have any necessary dental work completed. Pregnancy can make your gums sensitive, so youíll want to avoid having dental work done while pregnant if you can. Be sure to have your teeth cleaned according to your regular recommended schedule.

Next up, youíll need to choose a health care provider to oversee your pregnancy. Many women continue with the same care provider they used for gynecology, although some women prefer to choose a different obstetrician. Other women find that they need a specialized obstetrician or even a perinatologist to care for them during their pregnancy. Itís a good idea to choose your care provider before you become pregnant, if you can. This gives you plenty of time to interview potential care providers and find the one who best meets your needs.

Also, before you begin having unprotected sexual intercourse, you and your partner should also be checked for any sexually transmitted diseases. If your partner smokes or has other health habits that will be detrimental to you and any potential child, those habits should be discontinued as soon as possible.

If you smoke, quit. You may want to use nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit. In addition, if you drink, you should stop this as well. Even if you only drink socially, itís a good idea to stop drinking before you begin trying to conceive. This way, youíll never have to wonder if you had that drink before or after you were pregnant. The same advice goes for using over the counter medications. Talk with your doctor about whatís safe for use during pregnancy and only use those medications as necessary once you begin trying to conceive.

With a little preparation, your pregnancy can begin and proceed smoothly, leaving you free from worries about your health or behaviors in the days leading up to your pregnancy.

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