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1 Burnside Child Care and Parenting- Family Planning

This title in other editions

Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception


Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception Cover




It is every prospective parent 's dream to have a child who is happy,

bright,engaging,and healthy enough to experience life to its fullest.

Whether you are thinking of trying to conceive for the first time or have

been down this road before,we would like to help you improve your

chances of making this dream come true,just as we have for countless men

and women under similar circumstances.

In fact,it was nearly a decade ago that the idea for Before Your Pregnancy

came into being.At the time,Amy,a registered dietitian,exercise physiolo-

gist,and personal trainer,was working with patients and private clients

who were pregnant --with or without complications --or within a year or

two of having a child.She was impressed by their motivation and surprised

by the number of times she heard the remark "If only I knew then what I

know now,I 'd have taken better care of myself before I got pregnant."It got

her thinking about why there wasn 't more emphasis from the medical com-

munity on health during the months before conception.After all,the scien-

tific literature was brimming with new information on ways women and

men could prepare their body for conception and improve the baby 's

health,actions that often only made a difference if begun one to three

months before trying.Unfortunately,virtually none of this information was

widely available to the general public.

Determined to get the word out,Amy wrote and produced a video and

accompanying booklet entitled Before Your Pregnancy that provided precon-

ception nutritional and exercise advice.(Coincidentally,she became preg-

nant while making the video,giving her a chance to practice what she

preached!)One of the professionals who vetted the text,Dr.Lisa Mazzullo,

a board-certified ob/gyn and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecol-

ogy at Northwestern University Medical Center,happened to teach "Maybe

Baby "classes at her hospital,covering the same topic from a medical and

psychological point of view.The response to the video and preconception

classes was so great that we ultimately decided to pool our expertise and

create the book you hold in your hands,a complete resource for couples

considering having a baby.

Most preconception discussions between patients and doctors --if they

occur at all --are limited to "Begin taking your folic acid,and have fun!"

The fact of the matter is,however,that there are many things you can do to

improve your physical health and psychological readiness in the critical

ninety-day period before conception.In this book we 'll help you to thor-

oughly assess your emotional,financial,environmental,gynecologic,ge-

netic,nutritional,and physical preparedness and provide detailed advice on

how to improve in each area.If you follow our preconception guidelines,

you will also improve your odds of

*Conceiving more easily

*Conceiving a healthier baby

*Having a healthier pregnancy

*Recovering more easily in the postpartum period

*Decreasing your child 's risk for certain adult health problems

You may be wondering why certain baby-friendly actions must be im-

plemented in the months prior to conception.After all,until fertilization oc-

curs,there isn 't even a baby in the picture.Well,the egg and sperm that

will eventually become that baby go through crucial genetic preparations in

the weeks before conception,and you want these to occur under the best

circumstances.Because genetic defects do not all occur randomly,the pros-

pect of having some control over this risk is immensely empowering.Also,

consider that most birth defects --many preventable --occur between sev-

enteen and fifty-six days after conception,often before a woman becomes

aware that she is pregnant.Preconceptional readiness primes the woman 's

body so the baby can thrive in those early weeks of development.Take it

from us:it is also a lot easier to continue healthy habits during pregnancy

and beyond if you already have them in place before you are pregnant.And

eventually your children will learn the healthy habits that you,their par-


We cannot emphasize enough that the preconception actions of both

partners,not solely the woman,can make a difference in the health of their

future child.Ultimate success comes when you both feel equally important

and act synergistically as a team.You will find a lot of information in this

book to help the prospective dad become healthier,better informed,and

more involved in what lies ahead.

We share your enthusiasm for wanting to make your body a safe and

healthy place for your baby to thrive.


Are you planning your pregnancy several months to a year in advance,or

have you already started trying?How you use this book largely depends on

your personal time frame for conception.As mentioned earlier,we recom-

mend following these guidelines for at least ninety days before trying to

conceive.This time frame is ultimately best for all involved in most situa-

tions,but may not be practical or necessary in all situations;we 'll make a

point of noting when something should be heeded earlier or later than the

ninety-day time line.Depending on what you discover from this book

about your current state of preconception readiness,you may come to the

conclusion that it is in your interest to postpone your plans for a few

months.In the grand scheme of things,a relatively short delay is a small

price to pay for improving your odds for a healthier outcome.

We 've organized this book according to how you might naturally ap-

proach preparing for pregnancy.Long before you and your partner discuss

preconception readiness with a health care professional,you 'll determine

whether you 're mentally and financially ready to welcome a new being into

your life.At the same time,you may start looking at your lifestyle habits

(e.g.,smoking,drinking)and your home and away-from-home environ-

ments with questions of wholesomeness and safety in mind.After these

initial considerations,we get to the heart of preconception medicine,nutri-

tion,and fitness for women and men.Finally,the last chapter,"Romancing

the Egg," can be referred to when you 're both ready to start trying.

Before Your Pregnancy is meant to be an interactive book.We encourage

you to write in the blank spaces,margins,and charts.Highlight pertinent

advice with a pen or colored marker.Approach this as you would a delec-

table barbecue dinner:you cannot thoroughly enjoy the meal if you and

your napkin remain spotless.

To further encourage you to participate in the learning process we fea-

ture exercises called Practical Applications. As the term suggests,these typi-

cally take the topic under discussion into your own specific circumstances.

For example,in the section on women 's medical issues,one Practical Appli-

cation is to look in your medicine cabinet and write down all the medica-

tions,herbs,and supplements you find,familiarize yourself with what we

recommend about them,and note which ones you should ask your physi-

cian about.

Some of the recommendations for prepregnancy are also applicable later

on,often for completely different reasons.When that is the case,you will

see boxes titled For Future Reference with symbols such as ________when

the reference is to pregnancy,_________when the reference is to infant

care,and _________for family life with children .These are for all of you

information packrats to tuck in the back of your mind for future use during

the pregnancy and postpartum period.If you are the type who was driven

crazy in school by a teacher who periodically went off on tangents,feel free

to ignore these little factoids!

This book will also help you become a more active participant in your

health care.It will assist you in organizing any questions you may have for

your doctor and help to clarify what he or she is telling you.That way you

can make the best use of your appointment time and will be less likely to

walk out of the office saying,"Oh,I wish I had asked her about x ,y ,and z ."


As you put our guidelines into action remember that the practice of precon-

ception care is much newer than the well-established practice of prenatal

(during pregnancy)care --so new,in fact,that you may periodically be

faced with skepticism from your family,friends,and even some health care

workers.Your partner may question the necessity of it.Don 't be swayed or

discouraged if people say that couples have been having healthy babies for

hundreds of thousands of years,and very few of them did anything to plan

ahead for conception.Or if they point out that there are women who abuse

their body with drugs and an unhealthy lifestyle and then have healthy ba-

bies despite it all.It 's true that women give birth to healthy babies under

less than ideal circumstances --thank goodness for this general resiliency!

Even so,preconception planning does improve one 's overall odds for giving

a baby a head start from the very moment of conception.The particulars of

how and how much it helps will vary among individuals.

Occasionally we encounter a prospective parent who finds the thought

of planning for pregnancy unappealing because of religious or cultural be-

liefs.Or you and your partner may prefer to be spontaneous and just see

what happens.However,the words "planning "and "spontaneity "are not

diametrically opposed.Although some couples will meticulously plan to

"start trying,"true preconception readiness is a lifestyle practice in case preg-

nancy should occur .Considering that almost half of all pregnancies are un-

planned,this type of general prepregnancy readiness is a good idea for any

couple of childbearing age.Following these guidelines will mean that you

and your partners body will be optimally ready to create a baby at any time,

whether you intend to become pregnant or not.

Over the course of our careers we have counseled thousands of couples

who,like you,are planning to start trying to get pregnant.Their experiences

have inspired the many scenarios we have created to illustrate the informa-

tion in this book.In addition,many experts outside our respective fields --

psychologists,social workers,financial planners,public health advocates,

geneticists,urologists/male infertility specialists,and herbal researchers --

have generously shared their knowledge with us to make this book as

complete a resource as possible.We extend our gratitude to all who have

contributed to our understanding of what it means to want a child and to

selflessly act in his or her favor before conception.We thank you,too,for

caring enough to learn,as we have.

Product Details

A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception
Ogle, Amy
Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., and Lisa Mazzullo, M.D.
Mazzullo, Lisa
Ballantine Books
New York
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Pregnancy & Childbirth - Pregnancy
Fertility, human
Pregnancy & Childbirth - Family Planning
Health and Medicine-General
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.24x7.32x.96 in. 1.18 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Family Planning
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Pregnancy and Birth
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General

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