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Planning for a Baby: The Pre-Pregnancy Checklist

By Craig Bissinger, MD
Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ

So you have decided to have a child. Congratulations. Welcome to a whole new world of choices. Never before have your decisions had such a profound impact on another person. Everything you eat, drink and smoke will affect your baby. But before you throw away your morning coffee or tea take a few minutes and read these common sense thoughts on pregnancy.

The first thing I do with my patients is remind them of the reality of pregnancy. Women have been having babies since pre-historic times. Somehow, the species survived without all the current hoopla surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. I often ponder the reason we affix so many rules to this exciting time of our lives and I think I have an answer. We are used to being in control of our lives and bodies. We walk, run, jump and skip when we choose. During pregnancy, there is an alien being within our midst, taking control of many of our bodily functions. To compensate for this lack of power, we look for ways to fight back. Watching what we eat is a great example of control. Avoiding caffeine, cigarettes and NutraSweet are just a few of the controls we impose.

Following is some advice for those contemplating pregnancy.

"I Want to Have My Baby on Valentine's Day"
Getting pregnant can be the easiest or most frustrating event in your life. All these years you've tried to avoid pregnancy and now you are ready. The first thing to remember is that most couples will get pregnant (85% get pregnant within 12 months of unprotected intercourse). For the 15% who don't, there are a variety of tests to help decipher the cause and help them conceive. Second, it is helpful to understand the menstrual cycle and when a woman is most fertile.
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Categories: Pregnancy,

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