Ready for Baby...Maybe?

Pregnancy is a major life event. If you plan for it, you can make wise choices that will benefit both your health and that of your baby.

Women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid for at least 1-3 months before planning a pregnancy. Adequate intake of folic acid has been found to reduce open neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folic acid can also be found in foods such as dark, leafy greens and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, citrus fruits, dried peas and beans and fortified breakfast cereals.

Good health depends on both a proper diet and exercise. Exercise is encouraged in pregnancy but this is not a time to begin a new exercise program. Use the time before a pregnancy to become physically fit so that you will be able to continue to exercise during your pregnancy. As dieting is not appropriate for pregnancy, pre-pregnancy is the time for optimizing your weight. If you are currently overweight, achieving a normal weight before conception decreases the risk of complications to you and your baby. If you are unsure what your weight should be, we would be happy to help you set goals and make a plan for weight loss before conception.

Smoking has been found to cause preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes and low birth weight. Alcohol and other drugs also adversely affect pregnancy. No amount during pregnancy has been proven safe. For the sake of your health and your baby, please try to stop smoking and drinking before getting pregnant.

Are you taking any prescription medicines? If so, please speak with your provider about whether it is safe to continue them when trying to conceive. Some prescription drugs can increase the risk of birth defects and we may need time before conception to change your medicines. Please do not stop taking any physician recommended medicine without talking with your provider first.

Are your immunizations up-to-date? Exposure to rubella in early pregnancy can cause several birth defects in the fetus. We recommend that you have a rubella titer drawn to see if you are immune to German measles. If not, we will give you the vaccine and you will need to wait another month before attempting to get pregnant.

The Tdap vaccine protects you against three diseases-Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping cough). If you’ve never had the Tdap vaccine, ask your provider if you should get the shot before pregnancy. Newborns less than six months of age are very susceptible to whooping cough and boosting your immunity before pregnancy is the best way to protect your baby from whooping cough.

The best way to protect yourself, your baby and your family against the flu is to get the shot, especially if you are trying to conceive during the flu season (typically October through March).

Your work environment may expose you to things that might pose a risk to you or your baby. Your employer should be able to provide you with information regarding hazardous materials that you might be exposed to.

Poor dental hygiene has been associated with risk of preterm labor. Having a dental exam and any recommended dental work is best done before conception.

Assessing your family history and your partner’s family history is important. There are some disorders that are inherited or more common in certain ethnic groups, such as Ashkenazi Jews. This may include such diseases as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease. You can be screened prenatally for some of these diseases and also be referred to a genetic counselor for more information to determine your risk.

Some patients will make an appointment to discuss these concerns before attempting to conceive. At that visit, we will try to identify things that will help minimize risks and complications to you and your baby during the pregnancy.

If:

  • this is your first pregnancy
  • you have chronic medical problems, or
  • you had problems with a previous pregnancy.

Then we recommend that you schedule a preconception counseling appointment for more detailed counseling to maximize a healthy pregnancy and delivery for you and your baby.

Raleigh, NC Gynecologic Services

Raleigh, NC Gynecology

 

Experienced            Caring            Family Focused

 

Atrium Obstetrics and Gynecology, PA | 2615 Lake Drive, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27607 | Telephone: (919) 781-9555 | Fax: (919) 781-1070

 
 
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