Caring for your health before you become pregnant is good for you and your baby.

It’s called preconception care. The goal is to check for any potential risks to you and your baby during pregnancy — and to address any medical issues you may have before you get pregnant .

It’s about becoming your healthiest self — physically and emotionally — before you take that next step into pregnancy.

If you wish to get pregnant and create a new bond between you and your partner, then preconceptions planning can guide you and your partner understand how to boost the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

A visit to a gynecologist should occur at least three months before a couple is ready to conceive. During this visit, a full physical examination should be done. A Pap smear and cervical cultures should be performed, and blood tests may be indicated to test for anemia or to find out if the woman is immune to rubella or chicken pox. If she is not immune, she may be vaccinated. In these cases, she should wait three months before trying to conceive.

Perhaps most importantly, a woman should begin taking between 400 and 800 mcg of folic acid before even trying to conceive. Folic acid has been shown to decrease the incidence of birth defects such as spina bifida (the spinal cord is developed at one month after conception, so that by the time a lot of women realize they are pregnant it may be too late to prevent some defects).
Asbestos, lead, and radiation exposures, of course, should be avoided. Cigarette smoking, even second hand, has been shown to decrease birth weight. Caffeine intake should be limited to one serving a day. This includes coffee, tea, Coke and chocolate. Alcohol intake should be limited, if not avoided, in the pre-conceptual period.

Finally, some basic recommendations for trying to conceive. 
A couple should start having intercourse at least five days before a woman is expected to ovulate. Usually, this is around day nine (if a woman has a 28 day cycle). The couple should have sex at least every other day until day nineteen. There does not appear to be any benefit to any particular sexual position, as long as ejaculation occurs deep within the vagina. There also does not appear to be any benefit to bed rest following intercourse (most sperm swim up the reproductive tract rather quickly). Remember, the chance of conception each month is only one in five or six, so it may take between six months and a year before the majority of couples conceive. Contrary to popular belief, the degree of stress or lack of stress a couple is undergoing should not effect the monthly chance of success. It is important, however, to maintain the romance in a marriage, and to decrease as much as possible any stress or friction within the couple; ideally, trying to conceive should be fun. Finally, if success does not come within six months to a year of trying, it is reasonable for the couple to present to their physicians to find out whether any tests or treatments are indicated.


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