Top 10 things to do before you conceive

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It’s no secret that in the nine months leading up to that very big day, there’s a whole lot to be done. There are doctors to visit, names to choose, rooms to prepare, showers to plan and an endless stream of questions to field from friends, family and strangers.

10 things to do before you conceive

What not all couples realize is that there’s also a significant list of things to do before you even conceive. Here are 10 things to think about (aside from the all-important preconception doctor’s visit) while you’re still in the planning stage.

  1. Quit smoking. If you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to quit “soon” for months, now is really the time to do it. The combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide (not to mention the 4,000-plus other chemicals lurking in your average cigarette) can deprive a fetus of oxygen and more than double the risk of stillbirth. The last thing you want is to be tempted to smoke while pregnant. Quit well in advance to be on the safe side.
  2. Lose the alcohol and caffeine. We know what you’re thinking: No coffee?! It’s okay, you can still have a latte now and then, but start cutting down. Doctors constantly argue about how much caffeine is okay when you’re pregnant, but start lowering your intake to be on the safe side. Since you know you’ll need to stop drinking alcohol entirely anyway, start replacing it with healthier options now.
  3. Reevaluate your diet. This seems obvious, but like quitting smoking, it’s much easier to start before you have the extra stress of a pregnancy in your life. Load up your fridge with fruits and veggies (okay, and a few cheat foods) now, and get ready to cut down on fish high in mercury and raw foods that could contain bacteria.
  4. Talk to your mom. While you should definitely consult with the experts, there’s also one person you know who’s been through all this before. Odds are your mom will be thrilled and flattered that you want her advice, and she may be able to tell you a lot about what’s in store.
  5. Figure out when you ovulate. Most women ovulate about 16 days after the start of their last period. If you want to more closely monitor your cycle, try picking up a digital ovulation test kit, available at Boots or Watsons.
  6. Think about money. Be realistic. Are you capable of financially supporting a child right now? A standard Natural Birth Program at Samitivej Hospital costs Bt44,900, while a Cesarean Birth Program will set you back Bt68,700. But that’s just the beginning. Consider the price of food, clothing, international school tuition and medical care and make sure you’re in a position to cover all of it.
  7. Check your weight. Being underweight or overweight substantially reduces your chances of pregnancy. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re at a healthy weight, consider calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). You want to aim for a BMI between 20 and 24 when trying to conceive. Check your own BMI
  8. Find out your family medical history. It won’t tell you everything, but your family history can reveal a lot about your own genetic situation. As mom and dad for the records and start going through your family tree.
  9. Start taking prenatal vitamins. Folic acid, iron, calcium and other nutrients are going to be essential for your growing baby. Start popping those multivitamins three to six months before you plan on getting pregnant.
  10. Take a trip. In between preconception doctor’s visits, take some time to really enjoy yourself. A weekend away with the girls or guys is about to get a whole lot harder, so go ahead and book that trip to Krabi or Koh Chang (or go all-out and hit up Bali!) while you can.

Photo Credit: Angelo González via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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