Preconception 2017-02-23T13:58:03+00:00

Preconception

So, you’re ready to have a baby…

You are about to embark on one of life’s greatest journeys and we are here to guide you. Preparing for pregnancy is nearly as important as your pregnancy itself. This time period of “preconception health care” refers to the health of women and men during their reproductive years, which are the years they can have a baby. Your health and the health of your partner, may and can have an impact on the overall health of your pregnancy as well as your overall lifetime health.

Each person has unique needs when it comes to preconception health. Some of the preconception health care issues are controllable by you and your partner, but most will require the guidance of your doctor or midwife. Your doctor or midwife will help you develop a plan to help you reach your optimal health prior to having a baby, so contacting your caregiver is the first thing you want to do. We will discuss those items now.

Make sure you have any current medical conditions under control and are being treated. Some of these conditions include: sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, thyroid disease, phenylketonuria (PKU), seizure disorders, high blood pressure, arthritis, eating disorders, and chronic diseases.
If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use “street” drugs; live in a stressful or abusive environment; or work with or live around toxic substances, discuss these issues with your health care provider way before you become pregnant. The effects of lifestyle and behaviors such as these can cause preterm delivery and long term complications for a baby. Your partner can improve their own reproductive health by eliminating these adverse behaviors as well. Studies have shown that men who drink a lot, smoke, or use drugs can have problems with their sperm. Your partner will want to know this!
Certain medications during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor before you become pregnant. Some medications will need time to clear out of your system before pregnancy and you may need to adjust to a replacement medication.
Some vaccinations are recommended before you become pregnant, during pregnancy or right after delivery. Following your physician’s guidance on the necessary vaccines will keep you healthy and help keep your baby from getting very sick or having long term health problems.
Taking 400-800 micrograms daily of Folic acid, which is a B vitamin, should begin at least 1 month before and continue during pregnancy. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Make sure to ask your doctor how much folic acid he wants you to take. Most likely, he will prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you to start taking before you get pregnant.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight helps facilitate a healthy pregnancy. Overweight or obese women are already at higher risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

Becoming pregnant adds additional stress to the body and can cause other complications of pregnancy. Work with your physician or midwife to develop a plan to implement lifestyle changes such as eating healthy and getting regular physical activity which will last a lifetime and have a positive effect on your child’s overall wellbeing as well.

Learning about the health history of your family as well as your partner’s family can be very important. Sharing this gathered information with your caregiver can be very important.  Based on your family history, your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling. You may not realize without genetic counseling how your sister’s heart defect or your cousin’s sickle cell disease could affect your child. Your doctor may also send you for genetic counseling for other reasons such as a history of several miscarriages, infant death or trouble getting pregnant.
Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad, or stressed sometimes, however if these feeling interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor. Possible treatment options with an upcoming pregnancy as a goal, may be different as to protect your unborn baby.

Once you are pregnant, be sure to keep up all of your healthy lifestyle habits. In addition, make sure to see your doctor or midwife regularly throughout your pregnancy for prenatal care.

Best of luck!

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