Pre-Pregnancy Checklist: Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

Pre-Pregnancy Checklist Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

So, you have decided to welcome a bundle of joy into your life but are unsure where to begin with? Planning your pregnancy can become overwhelming when you are not aware of where to start and what to follow. Here is a pre-pregnancy checklist that can get your body pregnancy ready.

How to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting experiences in life. However, preparing your body to carry a baby takes a lot of pre-planning. Here is how you can get started:

pre-conception counseling

1.    Take a Pre-conception Counseling

Your healthcare provider can review your health history and evaluate any risks. This step is important in pre-planning a pregnancy, even if you have been a parent before. Schedule preconception counselling three months before conceiving. Your healthcare provider will be able to accurately review your health and other aspects of your body, including:

  • Personal Medical History: The medical professional checks your previous medical records and assesses any chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, allergies, anaemia, blood pressure or epilepsy. Before conceiving, it is essential to get these conditions under check.
  • Family Medical History: Some medical conditions can be passed from parents to children. So, let the doctor know about any existing diabetes, blood pressure, congenital disabilities, or intellectual disability in the family.
  • Genetic Medical History: Some genetic disorders like anaemia or cystic fibrosis are inherited. Talk to your medical professional to get your genetic screening done to identify these conditions before conceiving.
  • Vaccine: Before pregnancy, you need to be up to date with vaccines, including varicella for chickenpox and rubella for measles. They are not safe to get during pregnancy, and getting these medical conditions during the course of your pregnancy can cause birth defects or a miscarriage.
  • Virus Exposure: Any recent exposure to COVID-19 or the Zika virus must be reported to a medical professional immediately, especially when trying to conceive, as they pose a risk to your pregnancy.
  • Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Screening: IPV is physical, emotional or sexual abuse, including pregnancy or reproductive coercion, caused by a former or current partner. It is highly recommended to get an IPV screening before pre-planning a pregnancy.
  • Medical Check-up: This medical examination includes:
  • Blood tests to check your blood type and ensure you are not carrying any STIs or STDs
  • Pelvic exam to examine the health of your pelvic organs (cervix, vagina, ovaries and uterus)
  • Physical exam for evaluation of weight, pulse rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Pap smear by taking cell samples from the cervix to check signs of cancer

2.    Get off Your Birth Control Pills

As soon as the medical professional gives you a heads up for planning your pregnancy, the first step you need to take is to stop taking your birth control pills.

A common misconception says to wait for three months to conceive after you stop taking pills. Some women even believe that getting pregnant within three months of coming off the pills can cause an increase in the chances of a miscarriage. Luckily, these are just myths with no research to support them.

So, once you stop taking your birth control pills, the hormones are out of your body within a few days. You can start ovulating and conceiving right away.

3.    Start Tracking Your Ovulation

Keeping track of your fertile window is necessary to understand what time of the month you are the most fertile. You can track your ovulation cycle with:

  • Phone Apps: Today, various applications can track your ovulation cycle and give you predictions on your most fertile days. Although they are accurate, keep other methods handy.
  • Basal Body Temperature Charting: A specialised thermometer can be used to check your body temperature to identify your ovulation. This is not the best method to use when trying to conceive. However, it helps you understand your cycle better.
  • Ovulation Prediction Strips: These reliable over-the-counter strips test your urine to indicate whether you are ovulating. They are one of the most reliable methods to find out your fertile window.
pregnancy no alcohol

4.    Avoid Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking

Although these substances are harmful at any stage in life, a woman should stay away from them, particularly during pregnancy. Alcohol affects ovulation, menstruation and hormone levels. Moreover, drinking during pregnancy leads to severe damage to the baby, including developmental issues and premature birth. Stay away from drugs that your doctor does not prescribe.

Studies show that smoking is harmful to the baby as that can lead to lower birth weight, death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or premature birth.

pre-pregnancy exercise

5.    Exercise Regularly

Exercising and managing your weight before and during pregnancy is essential. Overweight women can experience diabetes or blood pressure, while underweight women might give birth to babies with low birth weight.

What Else Can You Do?

Apart from the above tips to prepare your body for pregnancy, ensure you eat a balanced diet. Healthy body weight is recommended, and following a properly balanced diet before and after conceiving allows your baby to grow healthily. Try to reduce caffeine, artificial sweeteners and empty calories. Have protein-rich meals. Include vegetables, fruits, and grains in your diet. Also, increase your natural folic acid intake found in green leafy vegetables to lower congenital disabilities.

Moreover, reducing stress can add value by directly impacting your overall well-being. Getting a hand on it can help you make rational life decisions and improve your relationships with your family! Further, high stress can even affect your menstruation cycle, which you want to stay away from when planning pregnancy.

Author Bio

Krishma Patel

Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high-quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.

Your Prepregnancy Checklist

Pre-conception Checklist, PDF

Pre-pregnancy health checklist

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