A healthy mother gives birth to a healthy child. This sounds like a simple concept to learn, but in many developing areas of the world, paying heed to the health of a woman who is preparing for pregnancy.
According to WHO, every day 830 women die from various causes related to pregnancy and birth. Not surprisingly, 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Between 1990 and 2015 maternal mortality worldwide dropped by 44%. There has been great advance in preventive medicine in prenatal, intranatal and postnatal periods in past years. According to Millennium development goal ‘more than 71% births were assisted by skilled health personnel globally in 2014, a rise from 59% in 1990. Globally, there have been 289,000 maternal deaths in 1993’.
However till date, only 50% of pregnant women population receives the recommended antenatal care, while the other half is deprived of the basic health needs.
- Everyday 830 women die due to pregnancy-related complications.
- Only 50% women have access to the recommended care during pregnancy, globally.
But how do we exactly now what are the needs of pregnant women? As a layman, we might know that during pregnancy a woman is required to eat healthy, take health supplements regularly, see a doctor and take rest for the healthy fetal development. But, is it all that’s required?
Keep reading to find out why ‘preparing for pregnancy’ is an essential prerequisite for pregnancy care and how does it help the mother and the fetus to stay healthy during a consequent pregnancy.
To ace the information about pregnancy care, you need to be acquainted with the medical terminologies used to address the issues and concerns about pregnancy.
While, you may think of pregnancy as a 9 months long period, which upon ending makes one a mother; the process is not simple at all. Pregnancy is accompanied by several complexities and carefully regulated biological processes. If, a mother-to-be is neglectful of her health, then it is likely that the normal functioning of these biological processes are disrupted, consequently influencing the health of mother and fetus, negatively.
‘A good beginning makes a good end’ is what we believe in, so discussion about pregnancy preparation cannot be left out.
Let’s begin by defining the very first process which marks the onset of a pregnancy. Known to us as fertilization, here is what you need to know about it.
Fertilization-Beginning Of A New Life
When the sperm swims up to the egg and fuses with it, the egg is said to have fertilized which leads to the formation of zygote. Initially present in the fallopian tube, the zygote divides to form several cells and this stage in the early embryonic development is known as blastocyst or a pre-embryo. Now this pre-embryo travels towards the uterus, 5 to 7 days after the process of fertilization; and it settles into the uterine lining which is the time of implantation.
The beginning of pregnancy is marked by the successful implantation of the pre-embryo and over the period of 3 weeks following fertilization, the implanted pre-embryo is rightly known as embryo. The embryo then becomes a fetus, approximately 8 weeks after implantation takes place.
Preparing For Pregnancy
Now that you are aware of the right you have over your body and the time gap required between the end of contraception and beginning of pregnancy, there is still a lot you require to know about your pregnancy, before you begin trying to get pregnant. If you have been trying to get pregnant but the efforts have not been fruitful, then ‘How to prepare for pregnancy’ is an apt question that should hit your mind.
Preparing for pregnancy is of utmost importance which often goes unnoticed. This can lead couples feel frustrated thereby prior to getting pregnant, preparing for pregnancy should be considered as crucial by couples.
How Can You Become Pregnancy Fast?
- Keep Track Of Your Monthly Ovulation Cycle
- Record Your Basal Body Temperature
- Take Help From An Ovulation Predictor Kit
- Observe The Changes In The Consistency Of Cervical Mucus
- Eat Healthy To Start A Healthy Pregnancy
- Do Not Make Intercourse, A Chore
- Your Partner Has Got To Boost The Sperm Count
- Stop Taking Your Contraceptive Pills Now
- Do You Really Need To See A Doctor?
You might be losing your calm, while trying to get pregnant and failing repeatedly. Either you or your partner require some medical help or you are just doing something wrong which needs to be rectified soon. Here is what you have to ensure before you desperately wait to get a positive result on your pregnancy test.
Keep Track Of Your Monthly Ovulation Cycle
During your menstrual cycle, it is important for you to know when you ovulate, if you want to get pregnancy. Ovulation is when your ovarian follicle releases an egg into the fallopian tube to get fertilized by your partner’s sperm. While the sperm from your partner can survive for 3 to 6 days in your system, your egg only survives for about 24 hours; thereby it is crucial to have sex when you are at the peak of your fertility.
- Your egg survives for 24 hours in your system, while your partner’s sperm can survive for 3 days in your system.
Your ovaries will release one egg 14 days before the last day of your menstrual cycle (counting the first day of your period as day 1). For instance, for a woman with a 22‐day cycle, ovulation will occur on the 8th day of cycle as opposed to woman with 34‐day long cycle that ovulates on day 20. You can also keep track of your ovulation by the following three ways.
Record Your Basal Body Temperature
Purchase a basal body thermometer and record your BBT after waking up every morning. It is important to record BBT in the morning to know the temperature dip during the day you ovulate. After your phase of ovulation ends, the BBT increases until your period begins. If you manage to observe the dip in your BBT, then you will be able to know your peak fertility day to strike while the iron is hot.
Take Help From An Ovulation Predictor Kit
Investing into an ovulation predictor kit is even a better option. Carrying 7 packs/strips, this kit can detect increasing female fertility hormone (luteinizing hormone) in your urine. The hormone concentration in your urine increases 24 to 72 hours before ovulation and help you know when your fertility peaks.
Observe The Changes In The Consistency Of Cervical Mucus
Before and during ovulation, your cervical mucus changes its quantity and texture to facilitate sperm penetration. If you find that increased mucus qualities secreting out of your cervix which is slippery and thin, then you have got your green signal.
Eat Healthy To Start A Healthy Pregnancy
Eating healthy is of an utmost importance which cannot be ignored. So, it is important that while you try to get pregnant you know that you are not obese and you are eating a nutritious diet. Exercise regularly, get rid of your drinking and/or smoking habit and restrict your caffeine intake to only 200 milligram per day to increase your chances of conception.
Do Not Make Intercourse, A Chore
It can be distressing to have sex, when making a baby out of it, is constantly a worry on your mind. Therefore, it is important to have sex on the right time but it is not required that you have sex every night, it won’t increase your chances to get pregnant. As we learnt that a sperm that stay in your system for 3-6 days, then it would be helpful to begin having sex three days begin you begin to ovulate, and continue through the day of ovulation.
Your Partner Has Got To Boost The Sperm Count
Getting pregnant successfully is not solely your job, so ask your partner to play his part as well. Often the low sperm count of your partner can be a hurdle in your way. Thereby, your partner requires cutting back on tobacco smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs. Your partner should be taking sufficient amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, folic acid, zinc and calcium. He should also watch his weight and get rid of obesity, if he is obese. Similarly, frequently using saunas and hot tubs should be restricted as heat kills sperms and reduce the optimal count.
Stop Taking Your Contraceptive Pill Now
Return to your normal menstrual cycle and throw away your birth control pills few months prior to getting pregnant. It is human nature to want a thing at one time and not want it at some other time. Pregnancy is certainly one of the things, you might want to avoid at one point in time and at other times, you might just get too desperate to become pregnant. But you need to hold your horses right there and realize that your body is governed by an intricately wired system which has its say in things and you can’t possibly get things done when you want them to happen.
You are required to be patient and know that your body has its regulatory system which has its own pace to follow and it doesn’t kneel down before your will just like that.
The contraceptive pills work in your favor by preventing ovulation (release of eggs from ovaries), which is marked, approximately at the middle of your menstrual cycle.
- Your ovulation has to get back on the right track if you want to get pregnant
- At the soonest, your pregnancy can be expected to start two weeks after you stop taking your contraceptive pill.
- Often, you will take 1 to 3 months to return to your normal ovulation cycle and begin your pregnancy.
- This oral contraception makes use estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation. The time of ovulation is the most favored period for you to get pregnant and it has to revert to its normal phase after you stop taking your contraceptive pill, if you want to get pregnant.In addition to preventing ovulation, the contraceptive pills also alter the uterine lining for preventing pregnancy and they also change the mucus present in the cervix to prevent sperms from entering.Once you have stopped taking your pill, the hormones governing ovulation reach the optimal levels, this lead to the production of follicles and hence ovulation. Every woman responds to the pill and then going back to ovulation at a different pace, however, some of the useful time spans include the following:
- Ovulation can begin as soon as two weeks after you stop taking your pill, when suggests your pregnancy can be anticipated two weeks after stopping the use of contraception at the soonest.
- Wait for at least your first period after stopping the pill to get pregnant.
- Normally you can get back to your normal ovulation in 1 to 3 months after stopping the use of contraceptive pills.
- If you have had ovulation problems become taking pills, then you might take some more time to get normal ovulation back.
- Prior to taking contraceptive pills, if you have had a miscarriage or abortion, then you might have to wait for some more time to get pregnant before your body replenishes its lost resources which are important for a viable pregnancy.
- In case your partner uses condoms or you have an intrauterine device (IUD) commonly known as “coil” in your uterus, your chances of getting pregnant are re-established as soon as their use is stopped.
Do You Really Need To See A Doctor?
if things have been going fine between you and your partner and you are taking care of all the necessary measures to get pregnancy but nothing is working out in your favor, then you should seek some advice from the doctor. Particularly, if your age is over 35 years and 1 year of trying to conceive through unprotected sex has brought you nothing but sheer disappointment, then this should be a definite earning for you and your partner.
Pregnancy Preparation? Tobacco Is Not An Option
It is no surprise that smoking during pregnancy is harmful for the fetal growth. Years of investigation have gone into finding the precise effects of maternal smoking on the fetal development and an association between smoking and neurological, physical and behavioral problems in the child had been established. Smoking of mother is also linked with the risk of premature delivery increased by 30%. Similarly, smoking during pregnancy doubles the risk of pregnancy complications like placenta previa, premature rupture of membranes and placental abruption.
- The cigarette smoke contains many biologically active substances like nicotine, carbon monoxide and metals which work as toxins for the fetal growth.
According to a study published in the Current Neuropharmacology, nicotine in the cigarette smoke has an anorexigenic effect which suppresses the maternal appetite during pregnancy. This factor can lead to nutritional deficiencies in the mother consequently resulting in compromised fetal growth. Furthermore, the exposure to carbon monoxide and restricted blood flow to the placenta makes matters worse. The effect of nicotine further results in the release of catecholamines (a class of neurotransmitters) from the nerve cells which cause vasoconstriction, restricting the blood flow to the fetus.
Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been associated with serious health outcomes for the baby which include conditions such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome. According to CDC, over 3.3 million women in the US are at a risk of exposing their developing child to alcohol. The fetal exposure to alcohol can lead to a spectrum of problems in the baby, which can widely be stratified as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and the commonly manifested type of FASD is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Alcohol you consume passes down to your child’s blood stream through the placenta. This amount of alcohol is accumulated in the body of your unborn baby which disrupts the efficient oxygen delivery to the fetal brain and other organs which gives rise to fetal development abnormalities.
- These abnormalities be mild to severe in nature which include problems in the facial features, slowed growth, low birth weight, defects in the central nervous system of your child, mental retardation, heart problems, kidney problems, hearing loss and vision defects.
Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure
Methamphetamine which is more commonly known to as “meth”, is an addictive drug which comes in a form of odorless, white, bitter-tasting crystalline power. It is a highly potent central nervous system stimulant. The maternal consumption of meth during pregnancy has been linked to interfering with fetal growth, causing neurobehavioral changes and delaying fine skills in the infant.
- This illicit drug causes detrimental effects on the fetal growth by restricting the oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus.
- As the drug molecules can diffuse down the placenta and enter the fetal blood stream and accumulate there to cause long-term harm to the child which manifests after the baby is born.
Prenatal Cocaine Exposure
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse of NIH, over 750,000 pregnancies per annum are exposed to cocaine which is associated with many complications during pregnancy. These complications include:
- Maternal seizures
- Maternal migraine
- Separation of placental line form uterus before delivery
- Premature membrane rupture
- Serious hypertensive crisis
- Delivery difficulty
Maternal consumption of cocaine can have serious effects on the fetal development, particular on the brain development of the baby. The regions of the brain which are responsible for the regulation of arousal, attention, intelligence and reaction to stress are primarily affected by the maternal consumption of cocaine.