A lot of couples end up pregnant accidentally but that definitely wasn’t us! After our wedding last year, Ben and I decided it was time to start a family. While of course you can never be ‘truly’ ready, we’d always wanted a family and figured that it was the best time as any to embrace the next stage of our lives. But before we actually started trying, there were a few things we did to prepare first (because we’re planners y’know). Here are some of the things I did BEFORE trying to get pregnant to prepare my body (and mind)!
5 things I did to prepare for pregnancy:
Went to the doctor
A few months before we were ready to start trying, I booked in for a checkup at the doctor. I was due for a pap smear anyway but we also chatted about my health, how to prepare my body and also ran some blood tests. It turned out that I passed with flying colours and everything looked great. I wasn’t deficient in anything, I had immunity to the diseases that can cause issues in pregnancy and my Rh factor wasn’t an issue.
Did pre-pregnancy genetic carrier screening
Another thing that was very important for me to do before trying to get pregnant was to do carrier screening. This pre-pregnancy genetic test is not offered routinely to couples in Australia and so the vast majority of people don’t do it. Since I had a family history of Cystic Fibrosis (a recessive genetic disease), I knew that there was quite a high chance I could be a carrier of the gene even if I didn’t have the disease myself.
After requesting the test through my doctor, it turned out that I DID have the gene. Yikes! Since an estimated 1 in 25 Australians carry the gene (most completely unaware), we got Ben tested too. If he was also a carrier, it would mean that our baby had a 1 in 4 chance of being born with the disease. This was information we most definitely wanted to know in advance. Luckily, Ben wasn’t a carrier so Cystic Fibrosis isn’t something we need to worry about.
I also requested testing for two other diseases: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Fragile X syndrome. There are a high number of carriers of these diseases too and the conditions are devastating. Thankfully, I tested negative to both of these so there was no need for further screening.
Started taking prenatal vitamins
My doctor recommended that I start taking prenatal vitamins a few months before trying to conceive. Since the egg starts to mature about three months before it’s released, it was important to make sure I was getting all the right nutrients during this time. It can take a little while for the body to build up stores of things like folic acid, calcium and iron, which are all crucial for a healthy pregnancy.
Cut down the coffees
I’m a self-confessed coffee addict because when you live in Melbourne, how can you not be? It was quite normal for me to be downing three coffees a day. I knew though that I’d thank myself later if I gradually reduced my caffeine intake in the lead up to getting pregnant. While pregnant women can still safely have 200mg of caffeine per day, I knew that I was having more than that. Caffeine withdrawals are the absolute worst and so I figured that if I reduced my intake gradually, I wouldn’t suffer as much. Also, high levels are of caffeine aren’t great for fertility either so it was a bit of a no-brainer to cut back!
Bought ALL the books
You guys know that I’m a bit of a bookworm so OF COURSE I bought a stack of pregnancy books before I actually got pregnant. The whole process amazed me and to think that I was about to embark on that journey myself meant that I wanted to feel prepared. Not that you can ever be really prepared, can you? But anyway, I ordered a bunch online and when they came I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety and excitement. I also started trawling YouTube for pregnancy videos and downloaded pregnancy podcasts. I wanted to immerse myself in it all because (hopefully) it was happening to ME soon. Woah.
Fast-forward a few months and it did but sadly, ended in miscarriage. That’s not the end of the story though. Are you up to date?
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Tell me I’m not alone! What are some things you did to prepare for pregnancy?