Making the decision to have a baby can be very exciting! You may want to rush in, anxious to conceive and meet your new little one. Before you begin, make sure you have done the following to ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy and baby.
Start Taking a Folic Acid Supplement
Folic acid should become a normal part of your pre-pregnancy routine. 400 mcg is recommended daily for a month or more before conceiving. This supplement is readily available at your local pharmacy and can reduce the chances of having a baby with certain birth defects.
Genetic Carrier Screening
While many parents do not do genetic carrier screening, it is something to consider. This procedure will determine if either partner is at risk for inherited diseases and conditions like cystic fibrosis. If both parents are carriers, the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of being born with the disease.
Develop a Healthy Lifestyle
If you haven’t already, adopt a healthier lifestyle before you conceive. This includes refraining from alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use. These factors can cause premature birth, fetal alcohol syndrome, and miscarriage. Stick with a healthy diet, use positive stress management techniques, and exercise.
Schedule Your Preconception Visit
Now is the time to schedule a preconception visit with your doctor. Your obstetrician will evaluate your health status and family history and discuss potential risk factors. He or She will also be able to provide recommendations for exercise, diet, and prenatal vitamins to ensure a healthy baby. Schedule your appointment with Women’s Health and Menopause Center to begin your journey to parenthood.