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Before You Start Trying

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 02-11-2006

You’re making a big and exciting decision. Do it right! Find out how to help prepare your wife’s body for a healthy baby.


Some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby — even before he is conceived. Find out what to do and what to avoid when trying to get pregnant.


    * Before Pregnancy

    * Planning Conception

    * Adoption and Foster Care


Before Pregnancy

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, or your wife is already pregnant, taking care of her health is more important than ever. Follow these tips for a healthy pregnancy:


Get 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily. Make sure that your wife eats foods fortified with folic acid, takes a multivitamin, or takes a folic acid pill to get her daily dose. Taking folic acid in a pill is the best way to be sure she’s getting enough. Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before she gets pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If she doesn’t get enough folic acid, the baby’s spine may not form right. This is called spina bifida (spy-nuh bif-uh-duh). Also, your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a vitamin with folic acid. But you also can buy vitamins or folic acid pills at drug and grocery stores. Some foods rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also added to some foods like enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals.


One half of all pregnancies are not planned!
And many women don’t realize they are pregnant for at least a few weeks. So always take care of your wife’s health. Your baby is counting on you for the best start at life!


·        Start watching what she eats. Load her up on fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Make her eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. The baby needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. When fruits and vegetables aren’t in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish). Find out more about what to eat and what to avoid for a healthy pregnancy.


·  Tell your doctor if your wife smokes or uses alcohol or drugs. Quitting is hard, but she can do it. Ask your doctor for help.

·  Make sure she gets enough sleep. Try to get her seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

·  Take steps to control the stress in her life. When it comes to work and family, you wife should figure out what she can and cannot do. She should set limits with herself and others. She shouldn’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.

·  Make her move her body. Once she gets pregnant, she can’t increase her exercise routine by much. So it’s best to start before the baby is on the way.

·  Get her health problems under control. Talk to your doctor about how her health problems might affect her and the baby. If she has diabetes, monitor her blood sugar levels. If she has high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If she is overweight, talk to your doctor about how to reach a healthy weight.

·  Ask her mother, aunts, grandmother or sisters about their pregnancies. Did they have morning sickness? Problems with labor? How did they cope?

·  Find out what health problems run in her family. Tell these to your doctor. Get your wife tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).

·  Make sure she has had all of her immunizations (shots), especially for Rubella (German measles). If she hasn’t had chickenpox or rubella, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant.

·  Get checked for hepatitis (hep-uh-tie-tus) B and C, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV. These infections can harm her and the baby. Tell your doctor if either of you have ever had an STD or HIV.

·  Go over all of the medicines she  takes (prescription, over-the-counter, and herbals) with your doctor. Make sure they are safe to take while she trying to get pregnant or is already pregnant.



You need to stay healthy too!
You must limit how much alcohol you drink. If you use illegal drugs or smoke, tell yourself to quit. Studies show that men who drink a lot, smoke, or use drugs can have problems with their sperm. These might cause your wife to have problems getting pregnant.


Planning Conception

While trying to conceive, your wife can use natural planning methods such as the ovulation method (have intercourse just before or after ovulation) or the symptothermal method (evaluating fertility based on your daily temperature). Remember: women are more likely to become pregnant if intercourse takes place just before or just after ovulation. This is because the unfertilized egg can live for only 12-24 hours in your wife’s body. If you and your wife have been trying for a few months with no results, don’t get discouraged. Only 20% of women trying to get pregnant are successful on the first attempt. So don’t lose hope or assume something is wrong.

Adoption and Foster Care

If you are having fertility problems, you and your partner might want to explore other ways to raise a child. Find out more about adoption and foster care. Adopting or becoming a foster parent could be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Get more information on adoption and foster care.