How to Prepare for a Baby

Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010 03:14 PM

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Once you’ve decided that you want to get pregnant, the next logical step is to start preparing for pregnancy. Ideally, you should plan your pregnancy about three to six months after you’ve made the decision to conceive, because this gives you adequate time to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for the pregnancy. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a baby.
 
Visit your doctor or health provider: It is important to consult your health care provider if you want to get pregnant so that the medication can be changed if required. It is also helpful to conduct a routine medical checkup and series of blood tests before getting pregnant to prevent any unforeseen complications.
 
Adopt a healthy diet: Now is a good a time as any to cut down on sweets, junk food, and fast food. A healthy diet will ensure you provide your baby a healthy and safe environment. Add whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet and drink at least eight glasses of water, daily. Avoid processed food, unpasteurized, raw, and undercooked food. Achieve your ideal body weight before getting pregnant as excessive weight can affect your blood pressure during pregnancy and being underweight may affect your chances of conceiving.
 
Avoid consumption of alcohol and recreational substances: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and other drugs to increase your chances of conceiving. Smoking and alcohol consumption is detrimental to fertility. Additional risks include still births, birth defects, low birth weight, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking also increases the chances of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. Heavy alcohol consumption can cause mental retardation and facial abnormalities. Cocaine and heroin causes severe withdrawal symptoms. In general, drug abuse adversely affects fertility and chances to conceive.
 
Start prenatal vitamins: If you are planning to get pregnant, give your body a boost by including vitamin and mineral supplements. Add iron, calcium, and folic acid to your diet as well as to your daily supplements. Folic acid is very important because it decreases the chances of neural tube defects in the baby.
 
Make lifestyle changes: This might well be the fastest way to get pregnant! Decreasing stress, taking up yoga or meditation, exercising and resting, and decreasing weight affects the chances of getting pregnant as well as the pregnancy itself.
 
Get your teeth and gums checked and treated for disease: Cavity treatment, root canal, or extractions must be done before you get pregnant.
 
Do not handle cat litter or do your gardening without wearing gloves as this might cause toxoplasmosis, which in turn results in birth defects and brain damage to the baby. Raw meat can also cause the same problem.
 
The fastest way to get pregnant is to follow the above mentioned tips and ensure your approach toward pregnancy remains positive.

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