Just a few things to think about before you plan to have a baby ❤
Medical conditions. Check that your vaccinations are up to date with a pre pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to those disease that can cause unborn babies to have serious birth defects, such as Rubella or Toxoplasmosis (if you are the owner of a cat for instance), and make sure not to conceive until your immunity is confirmed once again by a new blood test after you vaccinate against them. Lately, you may be offered to also have a whooping cough vaccination during your pregnancy to protect your baby in their first few week’s life.You may want to have a screen for disorders such as Thalassaemia.
If you have any other serious medical condition (hepatitis, HIV, heart condition…), or usually take any specific medication, check beforehand if this can have an impact on a pregnancy or aggravate your state.
Diet. Don’t forget to start taking some folic acid tables as supplements, ideally do this from at least one month before you get pregnant, and continue taking them until at least the end of the 12th week of pregnancy – even if you are healthy and have a good diet.
Nevertheless, keep on eating in a balanced way (generally speaking during main meals a third of your plate should represents carbs, a third vegetables, a third proteins; plenty of fruits, fresh and dry, and calcium such as in yogurts during your snacks), drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol all together, even just wine. Reduce your caffeine intake (even drinks such as coke contain caffeine, don’t forget) to one espresso a day or two and a half mugs of tea, for instance, so plan before hand to get use to the new rhythm of this consumption.
If you are a bit overweight, try to loose a bit of it but without a savage diet and in too little time: plan it well some months before you want to give it a go. It just helps your body starting from a better weight, however once you get pregnant don’t check your weight every other day, your body needs to accumulate energies to make a baby grown in your womb (a miracle)!
Avoid any kind of row food all together (eggs, meat, fish, unpasteurized milk cheese – if you are a sushi lover like me, you will suffer for a bit, at least until you stop breastfeeding 😉 ). Have a strict food hygiene generally speaking. If you feel unwell, use paracetamol only in case you are pregnant and you don’t know yet or seek medical advice if you feel it is more serious.
STOP SMOKING (or any other drug usage). I don’t feel I should add anything else to it, cigarette and other addictive substances usage speaks for itself I fear 😦 .
Working conditions. From a physical point of view check if you work in an environment that represents a risk to your baby. If you think so, then you should discuss this with your employer before becoming pregnant. A change in role, or working practice, may be necessary. If you do not wish to discuss with your employer your intention to become pregnant, you have the option to contact the HSE for advice on their Infoline – Tel: 0845 345 0055.
From a financial point of view, if you have not had a chance yet, try to find out what his your company maternity policy, so that you may have an idea on what financial impact will a maternity leave have on your household budget. If you want a child anyway, this should not really influence your decision, however you may want to time it in a better period if you are already struggling financially or consider job hunting with companies that are more family friendly from that point of view, before you try to have your baby.
Traveling. Bear in mind you will not be able to fly from roughly 7 months onwards as most companies do not accept pregnant women after their 34th week, some even earlier; similarly do ferries, despite they may have a doctor on board. And you may need at least three or four weeks before you can fly with your baby once born, considering the time you will need to get them a passport.
Hope that helps to have a clearer idea of what to take into account before trying to have a baby and… Good luck to you all!