Pregnancy planning involves talking to your doctor prior to becoming pregnant. The planning process helps create a healthy environment for the foetus, can prevent birth defects as well as other pregnancy-related problems. It involves assessing you for any illness or pre-existing diseases that may affect the pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby. Although many women have normal pregnancies, pre-planning with your physician improves the chances of a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Following your assessment, your physician provides certain recommendations and guidelines that you can practice ensuring better chances of conception and a safer pregnancy. Some of these include:
- Maintain healthy and hygienic habits.
- Eat a healthy, nutrient rich and well-balanced diet.
- Take nutritional supplements as recommended by your doctor, such as folic acid, to prevent birth defects in your child.
- Take vaccinations for rubella (German measles), varicella (chicken pox) and hepatitis B at least one to six months before pregnancy.
- Keep your medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy under control.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, drinking alcohol, use of habit-forming drugs, certain medications, and excessive exposure to gases, chemicals, heavy metals and radiations (X-ray).
- Keep your home and workplace environment safe and comfortable.
- Improve your mental and emotional health by avoiding stress and practicing relaxation techniques.
This is a good time to discuss all your pregnancy-related and other health-related concerns with your physician.