The science of reproduction is an interesting subject but Nature has a way of ignoring our best-laid plans. You can plan to the very day when to stop the pill in order to have a spring baby, but it’s a lucky fluke if you can really plan what happens next. You may not be able to decide when the baby is coming, but you can prepare yourself for a healthy start.
If you know you want to conceive in the next year, ideally you would plan at least three to six months out from possible conception. You would have a preconception consultation with your doctor, a longer-than-usual appointment that will involve a fairly detailed discussion about your health and family background as well as various tests.
You should expect questions about medications, including herbal preparations, smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs. It’s a good idea for Dad to get checked out as well but obviously Mum is going to to bear the brunt of the medical scrutiny. Your doctor will want to know whether you are up to date with Pap smears and will test you for immunity for disease such as rubella. If there is not enough immunity to rubella a vaccination can be offered, but be quite sure you are not pregnant and strict contraception must be used for at least another month afterwards as the vaccination presents a risk to an existing foetus. The risk from rubella is serious though, so if there’s time, it is worth protecting yourself and your baby with the immunization.
Then it is time to explore the family tree. Your doctor will want to know whether there are any inheritable conditions where there may be an increased family susceptibility like neutral tube defects or diabetes. And lastly you need to discuss whether you are expecting public or private health care for your pregnancy and birth. Be aware that there are waiting periods for private cover if you are not currently a member of a fund.
The mother-in-waiting now needs to do a little health house-keeping.
and now you are seaworthy …….