Best ways to prepare for pregnancy?

What should a woman (obviously) do in order to improve her chances of getting pregnant, and having a healthy pregnancy and baby?

Say the woman is 34 and she’s hoping to start trying to get pregnant a year from now. (She has never been pregnant).

Okay, yeah, it’s me. :slight_smile: I’m currently on the pill (and have been on and off for the past 15 years), and I plan to stay on it for another 6 months (until I turn 35). After that, I’m thinking we’ll use another method of contraception for a few months to let the pill get out of my system, and then start trying to conceive.

I know about taking folic acid … and I’m assuming that getting into better physical shape would be a good thing, but I’m a little hazy on anything else I can do.

(Mods - if this should go to IMHO please move it!).

Thank you,

Should be a good place to start.

Man I was going to jump in here and tell you all about folic acid, but I see you already know. I just started a thread in GD kind of about this.

Anyway, here’s another site:

They deal with premature babies, which I hope you won’t have, but there’s a lot of baby information too, especially prenatal care.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

I’d encourage you to do some research about the whole issue of waiting a few months after going off the pill. If I recall correctly, from when my wife and I were trying to get pregnant, it’s not necessary to wait. There’s little risk that the chemicals in the pill will affect the embryo – they’re the same chemicals your body produces naturally when you’re pregnant. And apparently the first month off the pill can be a super-fertile month that it’d be a shame to miss out on.

Concur with Joools post. My wife went off the pill late last September, got pregnant by mid-November, the results showed up 3 weeks ago, 7lbs, 110z. :smiley:

I highly recommend this book, it was informative and my wife’s pregnancy seemed to follow the book chapter by chapter. Good luck.

Not physical, but it’s important that you sit down and think about financial matters first. There are a few things you may not have thought about, like that pregnancy is generally considered a pre-existing condition for insurance purposes, so if you’re going to change insurance you need to do it now. Any debts that can be paid off, or if the job situation needs to change to be able to afford time you may want to take off from work - sitting down and considering your options. Things like that.

While you certainly don’t have to make decisions about work now, it’s also a very good idea to check out your options with your current job should you go back immediately, want to take a year off, etc.

You may also consider starting now with things you’d like to be doing during your pregnancy - it would be much easier to go off of caffeine ahead of time, for example, and of course if you smoke (which you shouldn’t be and be on the pill anyway). Anything that would be easier to quit now, consider doing that while it’s less stressful for you. Also any diet changes you’d like to make - if you want to start eating healthier, it might be good to get in that pattern first. Just think about any lifestyle changes that you might either want to or have to make for pregnancy or motherhood, and consider starting now if it’s going to be more stressful with a fetus or an infant.

You might also think about your choice of doctors. The first time I got pregnant I called the OB/GYN I had been seeing for years (and who had been urging me to hurry up and get pregnant already) only to discover that she wasn’t taking any new OB patients. I had to find a new doctor in a small town.

You also need to consider specialties and talents. My current GYN was* also a terrific OB, so I was okay the second time. Not all of them are, though.
*She has recently retired from the baby-catching part of the business, due to insurance costs and wanting to spend more time with her own kids.

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Thanks all for your advice / info / links.

This is why I love the Straight Dope!


Me me me me me. I’m such a :wally

Sorry, BF -I meant to say CONGRATULATIONS! Also, that book looks great.

Silly me-I’m thinking you should prepare for pregnancy with:

[li]a guy[/li][li]a bottle of wine[/li][li]a slinky nightie[/li][/ul]

A proven combination for generations! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks Stainz! I really recommend the book.

Good to see everyone knows about folic acid. I would add try to plan so that you have some time for yourself before your baby is born. I never regretted that I stopped work about 6 weeks before my due date even though everything was right on track. If you can do this consider it…I think it made it a lot easier for me to give myself up to such a demanding new little human. I was so relaxed and ready for my baby, even had a nice tan on my belly for the delivery. :slight_smile:

The over-35 pregnancy book looks good. I wish I’d known about it, being 40 and all. :eek: This is the book I’ve been reading, and it’s very good: Your Pregnancy Week by Week It has a lot of good information if this is your first time pregnant (which I didn’t happen to need, but it was a good refresher nevertheless).

One of my best friends is a doctor, and she says you should act like you’re pregnant for at least three months before actually getting pregnant.

Good luck, and enjoy that trying-to-conceive sex! :slight_smile:

I just thought I’d add that I heard on the radio today that women who have babies in their mid-30’s have fewer medical problems than those younger or older than them. Good timing on your part!

Instead of all the emotional and practical recomendations I could add here I’m going to focus on one book.

You absolutely must buy Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thanks to this book, both times I set out to get pregnant it worked on our first month trying. Plus I know so much more about my body and reproductive system than I ever did before. It should be required reading for every girl/woman when she becomes sexually active, and certainly when she starts trying for a baby. I’m sure others who are familiar with the book will second me - even if you don’t get any other books about TTC you must get this book.


Listen to what Twiddle says. Seriously.

did, and my baby is six months old! I was almost 35 when we started trying, 35 when I got pregnant and almost 36 when I delivered. I read Weschler’s book on Twiddle’s recommendation and followed the suggestions. We started trying in January '04 and got pregnant on the 3rd cycle in March. I lost the baby in April at about 7 weeks, but kept my charts up, tried again after one cycle -and immediately became pregnant again at the end of May '04. The book is very easy to read and teaches a lot about how your “plumbing” works. There is a company called Ovusoft that makes software that goes along with the book. I spent the $35 because for me that was much easier than a paper chart. YMMV.

Of course, just because you follow Weschler’s recommendations doesn’t mean you’ll get pregnant as quickly as we did, but I truly believe that it makes a difference.

Thanks everyone.

**Ghanima ** - thanks for that tidbit - I hope it’s true. I’m very concerned about my ability to get pregnant, as well as the chances of having a healthy baby.

Twiddle & **mcms_cricket ** - thanks to both of you for the recommendation. (BTW **cricket ** -sorry for your loss). The software is a good tip - I too would find it easier than keeping track on a paper chart.

I’m the kind of person who loves doing research and throws herself into learning wholeheartedly, so this is all very cool. I’m seeing my Gynecologist in a couple of weeks for another matter, so I’ll see what he says as well. (I’m hoping that someday he’ll be my OB/GYN!).