Whether you're actively trying or just thinking about getting pregnant, you can take steps now to make the experience as healthy and joyful as possible. Print and carry this handy checklist to keep track of your efforts.
In this story:
____ Get a complete physical.
____ Discuss with your doctor chronic medical conditions (diabetes, Crohn's disease, genital herpes) that may impact pregnancy.
____ Review medications you're taking, and ask whether they should be altered or discontinued.
____ Ask for a blood test to determine your immunity to childhood diseases such as rubella; get vaccinated if necessary.
____ Review job-related hazards (poor air quality, chemicals, heavy lifting) to determine whether they could pose a risk to a developing fetus.
____ Get a prescription for prenatal vitamins; start taking them three to six months before you plan to conceive.
____ Assess your eating habits: Keep a journal of what you eat for one week.
____ Cut back on fats and sweets.
____ Follow FDA daily guidelines for good nutrition: 2-3 servings of calcium-rich foods; 7 servings of fruits and vegetables; 2 servings of lean, high-protein foods like beef, fish, or white-meat poultry; and 6 servings of grains, preferably whole-grain breads, cereals, or brown rice.
____ Drink lots of liquids; at least 8 glasses a day of water, juice, and/or milk.
____ Cut back on caffeinated beverages.
____ If you currently have an exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe to continue during pregnancy. If not, make modifications as necessary.
____ If you don't currently exercise, ask your doctor whether it's safe to start. Try low-impact activities like swimming or walking.