For some couples, this is like falling off a log. They talk about it while cuddling in bed one night, idly speculating about how it would feel to have a baby and the next thing they know, they’re pregnant! For others it is a long and difficult journey, fraught with disappointment and hope, waiting and hurrying, decisions and hesitations.
If you are planning a pregnancy sometime in the next year, consider the tasks below. Remember that no-one can do ALL these things. Choose the ones that make sense to you and that you think will make the most difference for you.
Half of pregnancies in Canada are not planned. So if you are already pregnant, don’t worry about the tasks you don’t have time to do. Consider yourself lucky, you got to skip a grade!
- Talk, talk, talk with your partner about your plans as co-parents. This is a good time to work on your relationship and make it as strong and harmonious as possible.
- Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other-mother) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.
- See your doctor or midwife for a pre-conception check-up…
- Discuss any prescription medications you are taking and consider replacing them with ones that are safe for pregnancy, if that is possible.
- Discuss any concerns you may have about genetic conditions in your family – consider genetic testing or counselling.
- Talk about taking folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.
- Have your iron levels checked.
- Update your vaccinations – Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus, if you’re due for a booster.
- Is there anyone is your social circles who is carrying out doula training? Planning happens 9 months to 2 years before the birth of your child and in between planning and birth a friend or an acquaintence could complete their doula courses and become available to assist you. Keep your ears open for soon-to-be doulas.
- See your dentist for a cleaning and a check-up. Make sure your teeth are healthy, it affects you own general health.
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking recreational drugs – if you do.
- Cut down on coffee or switch to decaf. Caffeine is thought to restrict the growth of a developing baby by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the uterus.
- Evaluate your exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace or your home and reduce it as much as possible.
- Improve your nutrition by eating nutrient-dense foods, emphasizing whole grains, vegetable and fruit, lean protein and high-quality fats.
- Limit your intake of salt and caffeine.
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Start or continue a physical activity you can pursue during your pregnancy (yoga, swimming, hiking etc)
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