Planning a Pregnancy

Planning a Pregnancy? 10 Important Things to Consider

Planning a pregnancy is an exciting time. I’m sure you’re thinking of all the things that will change in your life, what this new family member might be like, talking about names and planning a nursery.

Having time to pre-plan your pregnancy is also a great opportunity to ensure you are in the best possible position physically and emotionally to have a healthy and rewarding experience during your pregnancy.

Planning a Pregnancy? 10 Important Things to Consider

Planning a Pregnancy

Planning a pregnancy is an exciting time. I’m sure you’re thinking of all the things that will change

in your life, what this new family member might be like, talking about names and planning a nursery.

Having time to pre-plan your pregnancy is also a great opportunity to ensure you are in the best possible position physically and emotionally to have a healthy and rewarding experience during your pregnancy.

1. Visit Your GP

When you’re starting to think about planning a pregnancy, I always recommend a visit to your

GP for a general health check-up and to discuss any considerations that are specific to you.

 

2. Get a Blood Test

During your appointment with your GP, remember to ask for a blood test. This will be a useful record when you do become pregnant and should be used to confirm your blood group and other checks such as liver and kidney function. Iron levels, vitamin D and immunity to rubella and chickenpox are also important things to check.

Common Pregnancy Symptoms - Reflux

3. Vaccinations

This is a good time to check you are up to date with any necessary vaccinations, including whooping cough and the Covid-19 vaccine. Ask your GP what vaccinations you need and if you’re up to date. It is also important to ensure your partner is up to date too.

 

4. Genetic Screening

A range of optional genetic screening tests are available. These tests can be arranged by your GP and ideally, they should be completed before conceiving. The purpose is to identify recessive genetic

diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Fragile X syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy. If you become aware that you or your partner are a carrier, you then have the option of genetic counselling to discuss the implications of your results with an expert.

 

5. Existing Health Conditions

If you have any underlying health conditions such as high/low blood pressure, diabetes, auto-immune disease, depression or anxiety, it is a good idea to discuss any steps that you might take to manage these now to put you in the best possible position during your pregnancy.

Planning a Pregnancy Guide

6. Your BMI

Being within a healthy weight range is optimal for a safe and healthy pregnancy and for the health of mum and baby after the birth. It can also impact on your ability to become pregnant.

Being overweight during pregnancy increases your risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Whilst being underweight can increase your chances of premature birth and low birth weight. Now is a good time to speak to your doctor about a healthy weight for you and get support to work towards a healthy weight range.

 

7. Discuss with Your Partner

This is a great time to have an open conversation with your partner so you can both share what your expectations and hopes are for having a family. It is helpful to discuss things like who will take maternity/paternity leave and when. You can also share any concerns or worries you may have so you can better support each other in the months and years ahead!

8. Visit Your Dentist

There is an increased risk of periodontitis during pregnancy so it’s a great idea to ensure your teeth and gums are in good health beforehand. Your dentist can also create a care plan so that any significant treatment you might need can be carried out before you become pregnant. Regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checks should be on your to do list during pregnancy.

 

9. Cervical Screening Test

A cervical screening test (previously known as pap smear) is one of the most effective ways to detect

pre-cancerous changes of the cervix and cervical cancer. Both the Department of Health in Australia and the Cancer Council of Australia recommend women 25 years and older should be screened every 5 years.

If you haven’t had a test in the last 5 years or your test is likely to lapse during pregnancy, it’s time to tick that important job off your list.

 

10. Specialist Dietary Advice

If you have any specific dietary requirements, for example you are vegan or vegetarian, or diet related issues such as allergies, coeliac disease, anemia, or other mineral deficiencies, you should consider talking to your GP or a dietician about an optimisation plan and any considerations for pregnancy.

6. Your BMI

Being within a healthy weight range is optimal for a safe and healthy pregnancy and for the health of mum and baby after the birth. It can also impact on your ability to become pregnant.

Being overweight during pregnancy increases your risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Whilst being underweight can increase your chances of premature birth and low birth weight. Now is a good time to speak to your doctor about a healthy weight for you and get support to work towards a healthy weight range.

 

7. Discuss with Your Partner

This is a great time to have an open conversation with your partner so you can both share what your expectations and hopes are for having a family. It is helpful to discuss things like who will take maternity/paternity leave and when. You can also share any concerns or worries you may have so you can better support each other in the months and years ahead!

 

 

8. Visit Your Dentist

There is an increased risk of periodontitis during pregnancy so it’s a great idea to ensure your teeth and gums are in good health beforehand. Your dentist can also create a care plan so that any significant treatment you might need can be carried out before you become pregnant. Regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checks should be on your to do list during pregnancy.

 

9. Cervical Screening Test

A cervical screening test (previously known as pap smear) is one of the most effective ways to detect

pre-cancerous changes of the cervix and cervical cancer. Both the Department of Health in Australia and the Cancer Council of Australia recommend women 25 years and older should be screened every 5 years.

If you haven’t had a test in the last 5 years or your test is likely to lapse during pregnancy, it’s time to tick that important job off your list.

 

10. Specialist Dietary Advice

If you have any specific dietary requirements, for example you are vegan or vegetarian, or diet related issues such as allergies, coeliac disease, anemia, or other mineral deficiencies, you should consider talking to your GP or a dietician about an optimisation plan and any considerations for pregnancy.

Planning a Pregnancy Guide

For more advice on planning a pregnancy, you can download a complimentary copy of my ‘Preparing for Pregnancy Checklist’, visit www.drkierenwilson.com.au/pregnancy-planning-guide/

 

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