Pregnancy Planning

### How to Prepare for Pregnancy Planning
When it comes to preparing for a new addition to the family, it helps to have a comprehensive plan that takes into account both the physical and emotional needs of the mother and baby. Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

#### Preconception Planning:
Preconception planning is an important step in preparing for pregnancy. It includes lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs, reducing stress, and taking folic acid. It’s also important for women to speak with their doctor about their reproductive health and any chronic conditions before getting pregnant.

#### Nutrition and Exercise:
Nutrition and exercise are cornerstone elements of a healthy pregnancy. Before conception, women should continue to be mindful of their dietary choices. Keeping up with regular exercise and avoiding over-exertion during pregnancy is also important.

#### Genetical Screening:
Genetical screening is an important decision for new parents-to-be. To assess the risk for certain genetic disorders, genetic counseling and testing may be done before and/or during pregnancy.

#### Parenting Style and Family Considerations:
Another important aspect of pregnancy planning is deciding what kind of parenting style you want to adopt, as well as any larger family considerations like how to ensure family members who won’t be involved in the daily care of the baby can still be included.

#### Emotional Preparation:
Finally, mental and emotional preparation is often overlooked during pregnancy planning, but it’s an important part of the process. It can help to set realistic expectations and establish open communication with a partner and family.

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By following these simple steps, couples can have peace of mind knowing they have taken every step possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

What medical tests should I have done before getting pregnant?

1. Preconception blood tests: These are important to assess your health before getting pregnant. Tests may include complete blood count, cholesterol panel, glucose levels, rubella immunity, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test, and sickle cell anemia test (if you’re of African American descent).

2. Urine culture: This tests for bacteria, yeast, and sexually transmitted infections which can be passed on to your baby during pregnancy.

3. Pap smear: This tests for cervical cells which could indicate any pre-existing infections or abnormal cell changes.

4. Genetic screening: Your doctor may recommend genetic screening tests to ensure the health of your baby, such as carrier screening tests for genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Tay-Sachs disease.

5. Pelvic ultrasound: This scan evaluates your uterine and ovarian health and can detect any structural abnormalities.

6. Hormone testing: A hormone panel can assess your reproductive hormones and will often include tests for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

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