6. Stop using the Pill and IUD. Plan on discontinuing oral contraceptive use about three months before trying to get pregnant. If you get pregnant the next month after taking pills, don’t be concerned. The pill does not cause an increased risk of problems, but it may be easier to date a pregnancy after several “normal” cycles. IUDs should also be removed two to three months before attempting a conception.
7. Shop for your care provider. Most consumers have more influence than they believe. If your health plan does not offer the services you desire, many will pay for you to go elsewhere. Investigate options in obstetric care. Certified nurse midwives have been shown to be safe, compassionate providers of well-woman, family planning, pregnancy, birth and postpartum services.
8. Schedule a preconception visit. If your care provider doesn't feel this visit is important, look elsewhere. Discuss risk factors in your own health, your family and in your partner which may affect your pregnancy or the health of your baby. Seek out the counsel of a genetic counselor if you have questions related to inheritance.
9. Get prenatal care early! Start prenatal care as soon after your positive pregnancy test as possible. If your provider discourages seeking care before 12 weeks, consider another facility. Care providers that do not see clients in the first trimester are missing the most crucial time in the pregnancy when a difference can really be made.
10. Build a support system. Start planning for the period after the baby is born by developing a support network of friends, family, church and community. When you need a break, someone will be there to help you. When you feel like a failure as a parent, someone will be there to talk to. Remember that the relationship with your partner needs attention. Attend classes together, take time away from children at least once a week and nourish the love that brought the children into the world. Many birthing centers and hospitals have information about parenting support groups. Join one or start your own. Some support groups meet regularly for years, helping members through childhood and even adolescent transitions.
Trying to Conceive? Find Out How to Get Pregnant Faster with the iVillage Fertility Planner