How to Plan a Pregnancy

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While some pregnancies are happy surprises, others are planned with precision akin to a space shuttle launch. If you and your spouse have developed the itch to add to your family, dedicating yourselves to pregnancy planning may be a wise choice. By actively planning your next pregnancy, you can help ensure that you and your body are prepared for the rigors of pregnancy and of adjusting to having a newborn to care for.

Step 1

Speak to your doctor about the process of going off birth control. Depending on the type of birth control you use, going from birth control use to pregnancy may take some time. Ask your OBGYN to help you plan your transition off of this birth-prevention medication or device, and ask her how long she expects becoming pregnant may take you.

Step 2

Visit your doctor for a checkup. While pregnancy is a natural process many women look forward to, it is also physically taxing on a woman’s body. Before beginning your quest to become pregnant, make sure that you are fit for the task by getting a complete physical examination. During this exam, tell the doctor of your plans, and ask him to alert you to any conditions that could make your pregnancy more difficult.

Step 3

Get up-to-date in your vaccinations. Many of the diseases for which you can get vaccines, including hepatitis B, can have a negative impact on your unborn baby. MayoClinic.com recommends getting these vaccination updates at least one month before actively trying to become pregnant.

Step 4

Begin giving up your vices. If you enjoy a few glasses of wine in the evening or are a smoker, work on giving these up before becoming pregnant. If you wait until you are pregnant to make this transition, you run the risk of accidentally drinking or smoking during your pregnancy. Also, early pregnancy is hard enough for many women without adding the challenge of giving up a favorite vice.

Step 5

Pick your ideal delivery season, if you have a preference. For example, a teacher may prefer a spring or early summer delivery to allow her to enjoy her newborn during summer break. Aim to get pregnant approximately 40 weeks prior to your preferred season to increase your likelihood of hitting your target.

Step 6

Determine your most fertile dates, and plan to be sexually active during that time. Complete this task by hand: if you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you are likely to be most fertile 13 days after your cycle starts. Or use the KeepKidsHealthy.com Pregnancy Planner Calculator (see Resources).

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