Trying to Conceive: Preparing for Pregnancy

My fiance and I have discussed having children. We are both overweight. What should I do to prepare for pregnancy?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

It sounds as if you are preparing already. The best thing future parents can do is sit down and talk, a lot. You are already mentally preparing as well as focusing on some practical physical changes you can make to prepare for pregnancy and parenting. You are well ahead of many parents-to-be. Discuss parenting styles, the way you each of you was raised should be discussed as this is the model you know best and the one you will tend to fall back on in a pinch. How will discipline be handled; holidays, grandparents, religion, TV... Are you planning on breastfeeding and will your husband be supportive of this? Lots of things to talk about.

Folic Acid:

Folic acid is not a difficult vitamin to get. It is contained in appropriate amounts in a well planned diet. The best sources of folate are peanuts, liver and vegetables. But the needs increase 3-4 fold in pregnancy and also the stomach is not as efficient an absorber of folate during pregnancy which makes supplementation a good idea for 3 months prior to and 3 months following conception. You should take .4 to .8 mg (400 to 800 micrograms) of folic acid every day during this time.

Discontinue Birth Control:

It might be a good idea to discontinue birth control pills about 6 mo. prior to anticipated conception. In order to accurately date your pregnancy, it is great if you can have 4-6 months of spontaneous menses. Vitamin stores can be replenished in this time while you are using another method of contraception such as condoms or a diaphragm or other method. If you feel you do not want to wait this long, it would not hurt to get pregnant within a month or two of discontinuing pills but sometimes women do not start cycling immediately on their own.

What your Partner Can Do:

It sounds as though there is not much for your partner to do except support you and keep communication open. To maximize male fertility, he should wear boxers instead of briefs and skip the really hot tubs and showers.

Consider a Preconception Visit:

A preconception visit with your provider would be a good idea. She or he could discuss testing for STDs (sexually transmitted disease), do a hemoglobin, see if you are up to date on all immunizations, discuss how to identify fertility, and recommend a good diet for you and a good exercise regimen before conception.

I think it is wonderful that you are preparing for such a wondrous event. I hope you realize your dreams.

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