When you decide you are ready for a baby it’s time to make appointments with your doctor and dentist. If you have family or child health histories, including conditions such as preterm or low birth weight babies, children with significant malformations, sickle cell anemia, alpha- and beta-thalassemias, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, any syndromes or associations, and non-syndromic hearing loss, your healthcare provider may recommend genetic counselling to you and your partner.

If you have asthma or diabetes, your doctor may recommend you undergoing a course of treatment because most drugs for these conditions may affect your baby. You may also need a vaccination for German measles, or rubella. This disease is very harmful for a baby especially on early stages of pregnancy. You may also want to go for a complete health check-up.

If you have any ongoing medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma, make sure to discuss your plans for pregnancy with your doctor, so you would have enough time to adjust the treatment course and manage your condition before you conceive. This way, you may be able to greatly reduce the number of medications you would otherwise need during the pregnancy.            

Make sure you see you dentist before you conceive. Cavities, wisdom teeth, cracks and discolorations, no matter how insignificant they look, are better to be attended before you become pregnant. This way, you will avoid anaesthesia, X-rays, antibiotics, and other substances that can possibly affect your baby if things go wrong and you have a dental emergency later in pregnancy.

Doctors also encourage moms-to-be to undergo professional dental cleaning to decrease their chances of developing periodontal disease which is now proven to contribute to premature births and low birth weight babies.         

This means you should patch up everything at least one month before you plan to become pregnant. If you need to do a lot of dentistry start immediately since the whole treatment course can take a couple of months to complete. Having to visit a dentist during pregnancy is harmful not just because of a stress inevitably associated with all that pulling and drilling. Recent research shows that women who had dental X-rays during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to low-weight babies. 

“Currently the care guidelines say that women who are pregnant are eligible to receive very low dose radiography to the head and neck, because researchers had assumed that only direct radiation to the uterus or fetus would be harmful, and that radiation to the head and neck region would not have negative effects on pregnancies,” says Dr. Philippe Hujoel, professor of dental public health sciences of University of Washington School of Dentistry, who conducted the research.

He suggests that radiation may affect neuro-hormonal mechanisms in the head and neck such as thyroid function which has an effect on baby’s weight. So have your X-rays done long before you plan to start trying to conceive. If you want to have your teeth whitened, it also has to be done before you conceive because many bleaching solutions are not indicated for use during pregnancy. 

Planning a pregnancy should be a painstaking process. Many doctors today talk about 12-months pregnancy. That is, three months preparation plus nine months carrying the bundle of joy. So spend these three months wisely and check back often, for I will be posting some tips that helped us conceive timely and at once.