What is Preconception Planning?
Preconception planning can be defined as getting ready for pregnancy. It helps you and your partner understand how to enhance your chances of a healthy pregnancy and prepare for the best possibility. A preconception appointment with your doctor is very important to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
What is Preconception Health?
Preconception health refers to your health prior to pregnancy. It is important to be healthy prior to pregnancy as it helps enhance your prospect of getting pregnant and can also prevent any pregnancy complications when you do get pregnant. A good preconception health plan involves:
- Getting a preconception checkup and talking to your doctor about health conditions that can affect your pregnancy
- Informing your doctor about any medicines or supplements that you may be taking that may affect your pregnancy
- Taking folic acid to help prevent birth defects
- Making changes in your lifestyle that may affect the baby’s health
- Making sure you are up-to-date with vaccinations
What is a Preconception Checkup?
A preconception checkup is a medical visit to check for any potential risks to you and your baby during pregnancy and to treat any medical issues you may have before you get pregnant. The main objective of a preconception checkup is to ensure you are healthy and your body is ready for pregnancy.
During a preconception checkup, your doctor will discuss your:
- Family health history
- Reproductive history
- Medical and surgical history
- Lifestyle factors
- Home and workplace environment
- Weight and dietary habits
- Medications and supplements
- Genetic risk factors
Things to be Done for a Healthy Pregnancy
In order to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Take a vitamin supplement, such as 400 mcg of folic acid daily
- Change your lifestyle by abstaining from alcohol, smoking, or street drugs
- Consume healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and lean meat
- Safeguard yourself from viral and bacterial infections that may affect pregnancy
- Take prescription drugs as instructed by your doctor and do not abuse prescription drugs
- Keep your stress level under control as high stress can affect your pregnancy
- Keep away from harmful chemicals at home or workplace as that may affect you or your baby’s health
- Manage health problems you may have, such as high blood pressure, thyroid problems, depression, or diabetes
- Engage in physical activity as it can help reduce your risk of having certain health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure
Your Partner's Role in Preconception Planning
Your partner can play a key role in supporting and encouraging you as part of your preparation for pregnancy by:
- Deciding about pregnancy together as this helps in early prenatal care and avoiding risky behaviors, such as drinking and smoking
- Undergoing screening tests to prevent sexually transmitted infections
- Talking to his doctor about his own health, his family health history, and any medicines he uses
- Refraining from smoking, alcohol, and drugs as studies have shown that these affect the quality of the sperm and overall reproductive health of a man
- Making sure not to expose you with chemicals or toxins if your partner’s work involves working with hazardous chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides