Your Prepregnancy Checklist

woman exercising indoors

Get Moving

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Before you pick a name or paint the nursery, consider how to prepare yourself and your family for this little bundle of joy.

To make your pregnancy and delivery more comfortable, get in shape before you go (even if your waistline will shrink for a while). On most days, aim for 30 minutes of cardio that pumps your heart. Swimming, cycling, and walking are all great ways to exercise. You can also join a prenatal exercise program.

For One, Eat Right

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Soon you will crave pickles and ice cream. Focus now on eating healthy. You will need to eat plenty of protein, iron and calcium. You should stock up on fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and whole grains as well as low-fat dairy products. Reduce your intake of junk food like chips, baked goods, soda and other empty-calorie foods. To make it easier, ask your partner to come along.

Folic Acid

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This helps to prevent serious birth defects, which can occur before you even know you are pregnant. This B vitamin can be found in many foods including beans and citrus. However, most women require a pill to obtain enough.

Begin with a daily vitamin. You need 400 micrograms per day of Folic Acid if you are planning to have a baby. This is the same amount found in most multivitamins.

Be aware of your weight

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It can be difficult to get pregnant if you are too thin.

Also, being overweight can lead to problems. It increases your risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure. You don’t want to make labor take longer.

Discuss with your doctor what is a healthy weight.

Take a look at your health

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Do you want to share your plans with others? Talk to your doctor. You should see them at least a few months before you try to get pregnant. Ask about:

  • You may need tests or vaccines
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • How to manage and control health conditions
  • What medicines you can and cannot take during pregnancy

Genetic Counseling

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It’s impossible to predict who your baby’s eyes will be. If you have a history of genetic disorders in your family, your doctor may recommend preconception testing. A simple saliva or blood test can determine if you have genes for cystic Fibrosis, fragileX syndrome, Tay-Sachs disorder, or sickle cells.

Consult Your Dentist

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You should floss regularly if you don’t already. It’s good for you and your baby. Pregnancy increases your risk of developing gum disease. This is a serious health issue that can also increase the likelihood of early labor. Make sure to have your teeth checked and cleaned. Also, brush, floss, rinse, and use an antiseptic mouthwash every day.

Cut Back on Caffeine

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Experts recommend that you consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day while pregnant or during pregnancy. This is equivalent to four 8-ounce cups or one 12-ounce cup coffee. You can switch to decaf, or warm, spicy milk.

You don’t need to get up in the morning without your morning coffee. Just make sure you have one.

Stop Smoking

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Smoking can also make it more difficult to become pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. Your baby could also be at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Ask your partner to quit, too. Secondhand smoking is dangerous. It can also affect male fertility.

Stop drinking

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You don’t know when you will get pregnant so stop drinking alcohol now. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of learning and birth defects. It can also make it more difficult to conceive.

If you find out that you have had a beer or glass of wine before you expected, don’t be panicked. It is possible to have one drink. However, doctors aren’t able to determine the exact amount of alcohol that causes problems. Avoid alcohol altogether.

Budget for Baby

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Infants require a lot of things. Before they can go potty-trained, they will need to use about 8,000 diapers. Clothing, a car seat and a stroller are essential. Formula and bottles may also be required. Start making a list and looking for supplies now. Remember that your expenses may include visits to the doctor and child care.

You can stretch your budget by buying gently used baby clothes in bulk and family daycare.

Look Into Your Benefits

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Consider what you would like to do after having your baby if you are working. Many companies offer paid time-off for you to give birth. Some companies offer unpaid time-off. Some companies offer vacation or sick time that you can use before you return.

You can also check your health plan to find out which hospitals and doctors it covers.

Plan Your ‘Babymoon’

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This is the perfect time to go on a grown-up getaway. You can go alone or with your partner to a nice restaurant or relax on the beach. This is a great opportunity to have some “me” and “we” time without feeling too uncomfortable. You can still travel but you are focusing on being a parent.

Get ready for your pet

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A crying or cooing baby could be a sign that your cat or dog is not happy. You can help them adapt now.

So they can get used the smells, bring baby supplies such as diapers and lotion. Set new rules such as staying away from furniture and out of the nursery. You can borrow baby clothes to pretend you are a doll and get your pet used to sharing your attention.

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