Preconceptional Planning

Planning for Baby

The Journey to Motherhood
The journey to motherhood is best planned. Photo © Nancy Brown/Getty Images

More than fifty percent of all pregnancies in the USA are unplanned.

This is a scary fact when we know the good that preconceptional planning can do for a baby. So, I thought I would take some time to discuss what constitutes good preconceptional planning.

When you are planning a pregnancy there are many considerations that you must make. These generally fall under two categories: Psychological and Physical Readiness


Having a baby will create a lot of changes in your life. Not only will you lose sleep and spontaneity, your relationships will change with nearly everyone from your partner to your parents and friends. Some of the changes will be for the better, while other relationships will crack and strain, even breaking apart with a new baby. There will also be new friendships that are made. Good communication is a key element in maintaining these relationships.

You will also need to discuss parenting styles. How do you plan to handle raising a child? Child care? Discipline? What did your parents do that was good? What could you change? Do your answers seem compatible with one another?

You will also need to consider things like the costs of raising a baby. Take a look and make adjustments to your insurance, and your wills. What about your living arraignments, will they need to be altered before the baby?

Will your transportation be adequate?


There are many aspects involved in the physical preparations to have a baby. Here they are with a brief explanation:

Physical examination: This will provide you with the opportunity to discuss your medical history, gauge any chronic health problems and their effects on a pregnancy, medications you are currently on, routine exams for infections, particularly sexually transmitted diseases.

You should also discuss your current birth control method. Many methods need to be discontinued at least three months prior to conceiving, like Depo Provera. You may also inquire about genetic counseling if you have a family history or your age indicates the appropriateness.

Weight: While many people know that being underweight while pregnant can lead to a low birth weight baby, causing serious complications to the newborn. Many people do not know that being obese can have a negative effect on pregnancy as well. Obesity adds to the likelihood of complications occurring and increases the possibility that your baby could have spinal problems.

Nutrition: Start watching what you eat. This means cutting out the bulk of junk food, and empty calories, including caffeine (which has been linked to birth defects and miscarriage). Begin eating more fruits, vegetables and high protein foods. When you become pregnant this diet can be continued. You will not be eating for two, but eating twice as well.

Drugs and Alcohol: This does include over-the-counter medications. Check everything before you take it and consult your practitioner. Recreational drugs, alcohol, and other chemicals can harm the sperm and eggs prior to conception, so not only should you avoid these while you are pregnancy, but prior to conceiving as well. Quit before you become pregnant.

Exercise: Start a program now, even if it is walking everyday. Avoid raising your body temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit. A healthy body makes your pregnancy and birth, and recovery much easier.

Smoking & Second hand smoke: While smoking is never good for you it is even worse during pregnancy, even the second hand or passive smoke. This would increase the likelihood of placental problems, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and more.

Workplace & Environmental hazards: If you work in an environment where you are exposed to X-rays, lead dust, chemicals etc. Start taking extra precautions and consider options for moving to a different area.

Vitamins: Taking a prenatal vitamin is a great idea. Your practitioner can prescribe on or they are available over the counter at most drug or grocery stores. You want to ensure that they contain 0.4 mg of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects.

The first twelve weeks of pregnancy are very critical periods, preconceptional planning helps make the transition a smooth one.

Good luck with getting pregnant! And have fun!


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