Getting pregnant: 10 things to do first

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Philippe Gloaguen
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There are some precautions to follow or visits to do before becoming pregnant. Here's what they are.



In this article

 



  • Schedule a visit to the gynecologist
  • Get tested for rubella and if negative get vaccinated
  • Find out if you are negative to the toxo test and take all precautions
  • Check the compatibility of any treatments with pregnancy
  • Take folic acid
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle
  • Exercise
  • Get a pap smear and vaginal swab
  • Check the healthiness of the working conditions
  • Schedule a visit to the dentist

1. Schedule a visit to the gynecologist

Most women go to the gynecologist when the pregnancy test is already positive, instead it is advisable to go to the specialist even before getting pregnant.



"The gynecologist carries out a visit plus an ultrasound to check that the reproductive system is in place and that there are no obstacles to conception and the continuation of gestation, such as fibroids or large polyps or located in particular locations" explains Stefano Bianchi, head of obstetrics and gynecology of the San Giuseppe Hospital of our city and prof at the State University of our city.

"The most important moment of the visit, however, is constituted by the reconstruction of the personal and family anamnesis: that is, the gynecologist inquires whether the intended parents or their families suffer from pathologies that may represent risk factors for genetic or chromosomal malformations, or if there have been adverse outcomes in previous pregnancies, so as to assess whether further investigations or a genetic consultation are necessary.

In addition, the gynecologist prescribes some blood tests, such as blood counts to identify iron deficiencies, blood sugar to verify the absence of diabetic pathologies, transaminases to exclude liver pathologies, creatinemia for renal pathologies; he will also ask both partners for some infectious disease tests to detect HIV or hepatitis B and to identify the blood group ".

2. Get tested for rubella and if negative get vaccinated

The blood tests include the rubeo-test, which allows you to know if the woman has already had rubella in the past, an exanthematous disease typical of childhood which, once contracted, leaves a permanent immunity but which, if it contracts for the first time in nine months, it can lead to serious problems for the unborn child.



"Knowing in time that you do not have the antibodies allows you to do a simple vaccination, which protects you from any risk" underlines the prof. Whites. "After the vaccine, however, you have to wait at least three months before trying to conceive. Another exanthematous disease for which it is possible to vaccinate is chickenpox, which, contracted especially near birth, can be dangerous for the newborn".

3. Find out if you are negative to the toxo test and take all precautions

Always among the blood tests, the toxo-test is essential, to know if you have antibodies against toxoplasmosis.

"Toxoplasmosis is also a disease which, once contracted, leaves a permanent immunity, but which, if taken while waiting, can interfere with the good progress of the pregnancy" highlights the gynecologist.

"Unlike rubella, there is no vaccine that allows you to get immunized, however knowing that you have never contracted it helps you to immediately adopt certain precautions, such as avoiding touching the cat's feces or consuming cured meats or raw meats".

4. Check the compatibility of any treatments with pregnancy

Some diseases - especially maternal, but sometimes also paternal - can affect the good progress of pregnancy and cause complications, determined by the disease itself or by the drugs taken to treat it: diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease, asthma, depression, epilepsy, not they are incompatible with motherhood, however it is essential to plan the pregnancy: there are cases in which the therapy must be interrupted, others in which the type or dosage of the drug must be reviewed even before trying to conceive.

In any case, as a general rule, it is advisable to inform the attending physician of all the drugs and food supplements that you are taking, to assess their safety.

Also read: When to have intercourse to get pregnant

5. Take folic acid

Folic acid is the main supplement for the preconception period, which must be taken by all women at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester, to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

The recommended dosage is generally 0,4 mg per day, but in particular cases it will have to be increased: this is the case, for example, in obese women, with insulin-dependent diabetes and in future epileptic mothers.

6. Lead a healthy lifestyle

Stop smoking, limit alcohol, ban the use of drugs of all kinds, try to reach a normal weight, avoiding both obesity and underweight (which, for different reasons, expose you to greater risks during pregnancy) : they are good rules that apply to both the future mother and the future father.

It is also good to review your diet, which must be varied, balanced and as healthy as possible.

7. Exercise

Being physically active not only helps to keep weight under control and arrive at pregnancy in optimal physical conditions, but also has positive effects on fertility, especially in obese women and in those with ovarian polycystosis problems.

You don't need to overdo it, that's enough

  • a brisk walk,
  • a little swimming,
  • a bike ride for at least half an hour a day

the important thing is consistency.

8. Get a pap smear and vaginal swab

If it has not been done for more than a year, a pap test must be taken to exclude cervical pathologies, plus a breast evaluation in women after 35 years of age.

If deemed necessary, the gynecologist will also do a vaginal swab to rule out vaginal infections such as candida, which can interfere with both conception and successful gestation.

9. Verify the healthiness of the working conditions

Even before placing a child on the construction site, exposure to chemicals, toxic substances or situations that could cause infections must be avoided in the workplace.

10. Schedule a visit to the dentist

The goal is twofold:

  1. on the one hand, treating any cavities so as not to think about it in the following months,
  2. on the other hand, to identify any more complex pathologies, such as chronic periodontal disease (commonly known as pyorrhea) that more and more studies are correlating with some complications of pregnancy, such as early or late abortion and low birth weight.

Also watch the video with tips for getting pregnant

Read also: Ovulation calendar

Questions and answers

What should I do before becoming pregnant? 

Schedule a visit to the gynecologist, get tested for rubella and, if negative, the vaccination. Also, find out if you are negative on the toxo-test and take all precautions, take folic acid, have a healthy lifestyle and physical activity, get a pap smear and vaginal swab, arrange a visit to the dentist.

Since when should folic acid be taken? 

Folic acid, the main supplement for the preconception period, must be taken by all women at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy, to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

What is the rubeo test for?

The rubeo-test allows you to know if the woman has already had rubella in the past, an exanthematous disease typical of childhood which, once contracted, leaves a permanent immunity but which, if it contracts for the first time in nine months, it can also lead to serious problems for the unborn child.

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