The time before conceiving a pregnancy is important and preparing for pregnancy is a good idea. Each baby forms their body parts in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy--this is a sensitive time where the environment, medications or substances can affect how the baby develops in the mother's womb.
1. Ideally take prenatal vitamins for at least 3 months before starting to conceive to increase your body's folic acid levels.
2. Ideally stop drinking before starting to conceive.
3. If body mass index greater than 30 try to decrease before getting pregnant.
4. If on medication discuss with prescribing clinician and OBGYN to create a safe plan that decreases risk to mom and growing baby.
5. Stop smoking!
6. Avoid travel to areas that have endemics that could affect a growing baby--especially in the first trimester.
7. Ideally one should get COVID-19 vaccine when not pregnant. The vaccines have not been fully studied in pregnant women. The most robust information has been in non pregnant adults. So ideally a mother to be would be vaccinated well before pregnancy to avoid the potential unknowns of vaccination during pregnancy.
8. Inquire about maternity leave policy if you work. You may even want to plan when to get pregnant to best utilize maternity leave.
9. Think about which kind of provider you want to manage your pregnancy and where you may want to deliver--some providers only deliver at specific locations.
10. Speak to your partner or support system about what life will look like when you have a child. Set appropriate expectations of your support network, consider your hopes and dreams for your family and identify roles played by your support system.
Written by: Dr. Kia