Your Preconception Planning Checklist

When you’re struggling to get pregnant it can feel overwhelming to consider all of the possible causes and treatments. It may feel like everyone has advice for every stage, and it’s hard to know what to believe. Whether you’re already seeing a fertility specialist or are just doing research for a future pregnancy, we wanted to make it easier to navigate through all of the things you should and shouldn’t do when you’re trying to get pregnant. We have collected 10 important but simple steps to follow as you start your journey to growing your family.

Preconception Planning Checklist

✔ See Your Doctor - Beginning with your primary care physician, it is important to make sure that you - and your partner - are healthy before trying to get pregnant. 

✔ Make Sure Your Vaccinations are Current - There are many preventable illnesses that may have a negative effect on your pregnancy. Rubella in particular can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects. When you visit your primary care physician you can find out if your vaccinations are up-to-date. 

✔ Take Prenatal Vitamins - Prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid, help prepare your body to support a pregnancy. The CDC recommends taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day because, “if a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.”

✔ Reach (and then Maintain!) a Healthy Weight - Being outside of a healthy weight range - either overweight or underweight - can create challenges in getting pregnant. If you are overweight you are at a higher risk of pregnancy complications, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer, while being underweight can make it harder to get pregnant and to carry that pregnancy to full term, Getting to a healthy weight and then staying within a healthy range is important before, during, and after your pregnancy.

✔ Establish a Healthy Exercise Routine - Whether or not you are already exercising regularly, when you’re trying to get pregnant it is important to establish a safe, healthy, and doctor approved exercise routine. 

✔ Stop Smoking - Most people now know that smoking during pregnancy is dangerous, but it can also affect your ability to become pregnant in the first place. Smokers, or people regularly exposed to cigarette smoke, are more likely to face fertility challenges. This applies to both women and men, so if either partner is a regular smoker it is important to quit when you’re trying to conceive. 

✔ Consider Genetic Testing - It’s possible that you or your partner may be carriers of a hereditary genetic condition. If this testing does identify a potential inheritable disorder and you end up using IVF as a part of your fertility treatments, you will have the opportunity to perform pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Through this process you can choose to implant only the healthiest embryos that will have the best chance of resulting in a successful pregnancy.

✔ Review your Insurance - Not all insurance is created equal, and not all fertility treatments are covered by all insurances. Having an understanding of what your insurance will and will not cover will help you develop a realistic treatment plan.

✔ Avoid Toxic Substances - The CDC recommends avoiding toxic substances and other environmental contaminants harmful materials at work or at home, such as synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces.” If you come across any of these either at work or at home, mitigate your exposure as much as possible. 

✔ Take Care of Your Mental Health - Struggling to get pregnant is an undeniably stressful process, and this can be compounded if you struggle with anxiety or depression. Don’t discount your feelings. Work with your doctor to manage your stress, and, if needed, find an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication that is safe for your pregnancy.

The Best Laid Plans...

Everyone’s journey to parenthood is different, but by following these steps you will set yourself up for the highest chance of success. Sometimes though, growing the family of your dreams may require more intervention or support from fertility specialists. Our experts are ready to answer your questions or begin your treatments - contact us for a free consultation today!

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