Physical readiness checklist
One way of giving your baby the best start in life is to get your own health under control before you get pregnant. You could choose to have a complete physical check-up three months to a year before you start trying to conceive. This would give your doctor an important baseline to use as a guide during your pregnancy - as well as help determines whether you're physically ready to have a baby.
To help you keep track of all your tests and vaccinations, we've prepared the checklist below. You are unlikely to need all these tests and checks, but you could print the list out and tick off the items you choose to have.
- Medical history: Keeping your doctor informed will help her get you ready for pregnancy.
- Cervical smear: Check that you are up to date with this, or arrange to have one done.
- Urine analysis: Detecting infections and other problems early will help you have a healthy pregnancy.
- Blood tests: Your doctor may check your blood for anaemia, sugar levels and screen for any potential problems.
- Blood pressure check: If it's too high, you (and your pregnancy) could be at risk.
- Vaccinations: If you need any immunisations, now's the time as some vaccines aren't safe for pregnant women.
- Test for sexually transmitted diseases: Finding and treating them now increases your odds for a healthy pregnancy.
- Viral tests: Have you had toxoplasmosis? If you're not sure, it's possible to be tested.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins: Make sure you're getting enough folic acid for your baby.
- Ask all your questions: Don't be shy - this is what your doctor is for.
- Address medication and health concerns: If you take medication for a pre-existing condition check out now if your prescription is safe to take during pregnancy.
- Genetic testing and counselling: If any genetic disorders (such as cystic fibrosis) run in your family, getting a test now is a good idea.
Lifestyle readiness checklist
You've decided it's time to start your family. But are you ready? By making a few lifestyle changes now, you can give your baby the best head start possible. Print out our checklist and check off each goal on the day you reach it.
- Improve your diet: Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- Achieve a healthy weight: Being Significantly overweight or underweight can affect your ability to conceive, as well as your baby's health.
- Create (and follow!) an exercise plan: Start a programme now that you can continue through pregnancy.
- Start taking antenatal vitamins: Make sure you're getting enough folic acid, iron, calcium and the other nutrients your baby will need.
- Stop drinking, smoking, and taking drugs: All three can impair your fertility and harm your baby.
- Eliminate environmental dangers: Your job may not be as safe as you think it is. Some jobs can also be dangerous for your unborn baby.
- Stop using contraception: Depending on what method you use, your body may need time to get back to normal before you can conceive.
- Get your finances in order: becoming a parent comes with a hefty price tag - and lots of responsibility.
- Think your decision through: be sure that parenthood is really for you