Toni LaMalfa, CNM, from the University of Utah South Jordan Health Center has a preconception checklist for women.
It's never too early to start caring for your baby. Whether you are actively planning to conceive a child, or just thinking about it, what you do now could make a difference in the health, comfort, and joy you will experience during pregnancy.
Prepare yourself before conception
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider for a complete physical, pap test, and breast exam.
Discuss your family health history and chronic medical conditions that might impact your pregnancy.
Find out if you are anemic (low blood count) so you can correct before getting pregnant.
Review your current medications with your provider to find out if they need to be changed or discontinued.
Make certain that you are protected against rubella (German measles). If you haven’t been vaccinated, consider getting immunized at least three months prior to conception.
Start taking a multivitamin with folic acid (400 – 800 mg) per day to help reduce the occurrence of spine defects.
Look at your over all body weight and height ratio. Both being too heavy and/or being too thin can cause increased risks such as gestational diabetes, premature birth rates, and possibly your ability to get pregnant.
• Look at your stamina and fitness;
If you aren't getting regular exercise-think of what will work for you and get moving.
If you are exercise regularly check to see if this will need modification, same with vigorous sports activities.
• Evaluate your eating habits; Keep a journal of everything you eat for a week
Cut back on sweets and fats in your diet
Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day, along with juices and milk.
Cut back on caffeinated beverages if needed.
Proper calcium and protein along with a balanced diet help to grow a healthy baby.
Say goodbye to alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. If you can't kick the habit alone, get help from your midwife, doctor, health assistance programs, support groups, family, or friends. Don't wait until you are pregnant.
Get some sleep. Chronic loss of sleep can affect your immune system-and possibly your fertility.
Minimize stress. If possible, postpone stressful situations such as moving or changing jobs.
The state's "Baby Your Baby" program has many resources for women. For more information, please visit: http://www.babyyourbaby.org/
or call 1-800-826-9662.