Some pregnancies are unplanned and people react and start to worry that maybe they are living a lifestyle which is not quite suitable for pregnancy like drinking alchohol or maybe smoking or eating the wrong diet or that they may cause harm to their baby without intention.
If we approached planning a pregnancy as so particular as buying a new car or house then we would invest alot of time, energy and research in the preparation. The ideal would be the longer the preparation the better but at least a minimum of three months preparation would be advisable. It should be a holistic approach for those taking part in this planning, ensuring the optimal outcome for a successful pregnancy. This would target not just the physical aspects but the psychological and emotional side of having a baby.
The physical preparation for parents to be would be a health wellbeing check up with your GP looking at general health, weight, blood pressure, cervical smear tests, rubella status, any underlying health issues that may affect fertility, routine blood tests to check iron levels, thyroid levels, liver function tests for example or if any predisposing medical conditions a referral to a specialist now you are considering pregnancy.
Taking Folic Acid at least 12 weeks before conception and up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, to decrease the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. This can be taken by tablet or through eating plenty of dark green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach. Eating a good balanced diet, good quality fats, proteins, including eggs and vegetables doing an audit of your diet to ensure you nourish yourself ready to nourish a growing fetus. An audit of your alchohol intake, if not being totally abstinent then a decrease would be advisable, or drinking iron enriched alchohol such as Stout intead, a change in your approach to lifestyle where drink is used socially. A decrease in caffeine such as in coffee, tea or soft drinks or avoiding drinking caffeine before bedtime.
A change in approach or attitude to smoking to give up ideally or if unable to decrease amount of cigarettes smoked, to seek support and professional advice in giving up smoking. If habitual or social drugs are taken, seek professional help and support, from GP or support groups.
Review of exercise regime from reducing extreme high intensity sports/gym work to starting a gentle and enjoyable exercise regime such as swimming or walking. Check in with your body.
Think and write down your thoughts and feelings about becoming pregnant, being pregnant, the birth and becoming a parent, all the aspects and what you feel you may need to do to deal with any issues, fears or anxieties and discuss them with your partner or if not with a friend, family member or professional if required. Get a good supportive network of people around you, join groups that you feel are beneficial to you at this time.
Think and visualise yourself being pregnant, holding your baby and find ways to relax and to be calm, find ways that feel right for you, your partner and your baby.
Think about yourself and nourish yourself not just physically but emotionally as well so you are able to nourish your baby!