Planning a pregnancy? Here a few things you may like to ponder
Planning a pregnancy? Here are a few things you may like to consider:
If you have a partner, this is the time to discuss your ideas on parenting and to work out together what you value in your relationship and what kind of world you wish to create for your child.
- Do you have differing views on parental roles?
- Do you have differing views on discipline?
- Is there a conflict of religious background?
- Are you prepared to progress from your roles as two people and become two parents? Are you ready to put another person first?
- Could you provide your baby with the loving and stable environment it needs?
- Have you spent a full day from dawn until bedtime in a house with children?
- Have you spent time with other people’s children?
- Are you familiar with the workload?
The moment of fertilisation determines your future child’s entire genetic coding including it’s underlying constitutional strength. Healthy parents make healthy babies.
- What are your views of pre-conception and pregnancy care?
- Are you prepared to stop smoking? Limit alcohol intake? Quit the recreational drugs?
- Are you doing enough exercise?
Many cases of difficulty conceiving and infertility come down to nutritional deficiencies.
- Are you eating the freshest, highest quality foods possible?
- Are your zinc levels adequate? Long periods on oral contraception can decrease your levels of zinc, a micromineral essential for successful conception and foetal development.
- Are you taking folic acid? This B-group vitamin is essential for your baby’s development in the first three months of pregnancy and should be taken as a supplement three to six months before conception.
Often women need six months or more for their menstrual cycles to regulate. If you’re someone who has been on the pill for 10 years, see your doctor about stopping contraception to allow your hormones time to recover.
Is there a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease while trying to get pregnant?
Bill of Health
- Check that you have been vaccinated against Rubella or German measles. If you haven’t been immunised and you need a shot, wait until three months after the shot before conceiving.
- Do you or your partner have a family history of hereditary health problems? For example, is there a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease (especially valve replacement), epilepsy, kidney disease, tuberculosis, syphilis, active herpes, cerebral palsy or Aids/HIV positive? Are there certain precautions you need to take in the interest of your own health?
- Do you need to adjust your medication? Is there a need for genetic counselling? See your doctor.
- Would your pregnancy be considered high risk?
- Is there a history of difficulty conceiving or assisted conception, repeated miscarriage in first trimester, miscarriage/premature birth in second trimester, severe vomiting in early pregnancy, stillbirth, abnormal baby, two or more caesarean sections, severe bleeding at any stage during pregnancy, rhesus incompatibility, postnatal depression? If these are relevant to either of you, see your doctor.
- Do you have chronic back problems? It’s a good idea to see and osteopath before you conceive. Once you are pregnant, many osteopaths are reluctant to work thoroughly for fear of miscarriage occurring. If you combine an osteopathic visit with massage, many back problems can be alleviated and prepare you for a more comfortable and healthy pregnancy.
Have you had a dental check-up recently? It’s a good idea to see your dentist now as your gums will soften during pregnancy and become vulnerable to infection. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth. Should you need dental x-rays, it’s best to have them before you are pregnant as radiation can cause miscarriage.
- Do you need to take out private health insurance? Some insurance policies have waiting periods, usually twelve months, before you can claim for certain pregnancy-related costs.
- Does your choice of birth require extra insurance cover? If you want a home birth, some general policies will not cover the birth. If you want private obstetric and hospital care, you may need to revise your insurance policy.
- Natural therapies can boost your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy. Have you considered the following? Acupuncture? Herbal medicine? Homeopathy? Reflexology? Australian Bush Flower essences? Nutritional therapy? All these therapies are worthwhile pursuing in preparation for pregnancy.
- Did you know that many therapies are not advised during the first trimester? This is because some women are sensitive and could miscarry in response to treatment. It is thought that one in every five pregnancies end in miscarriage and three in every four of these occur within the first ten weeks, sometimes before the woman is even conscious of being pregnant. These early miscarriages could manifest as little more than a painful and heavy period. Better to be safe in the early phases.
- Will you choose a natural therapy to help you through your pregnancy? Make sure the therapy you choose is considered safe during pregnancy and that your therapist is qualified and experienced in prenatal care.
- Do you plan to work throughout your pregnancy? If so, are there any factors within your working environment that may be harmful to your developing baby?
- Do you have high stress levels? How would you consider addressing these? Stress can affect your chances of conception and your developing foetus.
- If you do decide to give up work, could you survive on the one income? Are you eligible for maternity leave? Check out your entitlement to parental leave.
Would your partner consider parental leave? If so, when? Most women say the week following the birth is when partner’s help is most useful and appreciated.
- Do you need to adjust your living environment? Do you need to move? Or move in together?
- If you plan to renovate, arrange to have any jobs that may be harmful to the developing baby such as stripping paint, painting, sanding or sealing, completed before the pregnancy. Alternatively, organise to be elsewhere when this is done.
- Can you drive? If not is it worth getting your driver’s licence before the birth? Do you have a car? Will you be relying upon it for transport during labour? Is it reliable?
- Does it have the necessary anchor point for a baby safety restraint needed for the journey home from the hospital?
- Would you consent to an invasive test?
- Would you consider ultrasound scanning as part of your prenatal care?
- What would you do if you found that your baby had a severe abnormality or disabling condition?
- How would you cope with a child with special needs?
- Or how would you cope with the idea of terminating a progressed pregnancy?
- Several over-the-counter medicines can be harmful to your unborn baby?
- Did you know that several foods carry the risk of affecting your baby’s development?
- How would you prefer to give birth?
- Where would you have your baby?
- Would you choose a hospital birth? A home birth? A birthing centre? A waterbirth?
- Who would be at the birth?
- What pain relief would you prefer?
- Would you consent to an assisted birth?
- Will the father play a role in deciding how and where the baby is born?
- Will he attend the birth?
- Will he help prepare a birth plan?
- Do you intend having help or childcare following the birth? What is practical? What is affordable?
- Do you have a network of family or friends to call upon?
- There are several support networks and organisations in Australia offering help and advice. Whatever your query or problem, there is always someone to talk to, however trivial your worry may seem.