We plan for school, work, vacations, and so much more in our life. Making the decision to become pregnant is one of life’s milestones. Your health, readiness and available supports are important things to consider as there can be challenges along the way.
8 things to consider when planning a pregnancy:
1. Write out your plan
50% of pregnancies are unplanned. A reproductive life plan can help you decide if or when you want to have a baby. It helps you consider things like health, education, work, family, and relationships.
2. Review your health status
Have a full health checkup done for you and your partner. Check to see if your immunizations are up to date and address any health conditions or genetic concerns you may have.
Make an appointment with your health care provider to review your health history and questions you may have BEFORE becoming pregnant.
3. That biological clock…
Difficulty conceiving can happen at any age. Conception may take longer if you are 35 years or older. Research shows that age affects egg and sperm quality – which includes sperm form and function.
4. Eat well and keep active
Get off to a good start with healthy food choices and stay physically active to maintain a healthy weight. Remember to take a daily multivitamin with 0.4 mg of folic acid.
5. Keep your work and home environment safe and stress free
Reduce stress and be aware of potential hazards like lead and pesticides which can impact conception. Consult your health care provider if you have concerns
6. Avoid alcohol, drugs and quit smoking
Regularly drinking alcohol, using drugs and smoking cigarettes can affect sperm quality and make it harder to conceive a baby. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent brain damage and other defects in your baby, such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Smoking increases the chances of delivering prematurely (before 37 weeks) and having a low birth weight baby.
If you think you might become pregnant, drink non-alcoholic beverages (mocktails) and get help to quit smoking.
7. Give your body time to heal
Spacing your pregnancies allows your body enough time to recover from the last pregnancy and delivery. It’s recommended to wait at least 18 months and no more than 5 years before trying to get pregnant again.
8. Who can you count on?
Friends and family can be indispensable at the happiest and most stressful times in your life. Consider sharing your plans with your circle of support.
Making the decision to plan a pregnancy requires a lot of thought and consideration. Chat with one of our nurses to discuss your reproductive life plan.
Are you ready?