Do you have baby fever? Are you considering becoming pregnant? Could you possibly become pregnant? If you answered yes to any of these questions how about getting a bit of preconception counseling from yours truly. One of the many advantages to having a planned pregnancy is the fact that you are able to make sure you are as healthy as possible to take on the enormous task of carrying a fetus for 40 weeks…and then laboring for hours and giving birth. Pregnancy can be downright terrifying once we start to google all the things that can go wrong. Thankfully, there are things we can do ourselves to make sure our bodies are as prepared as possible to bring a tiny human into the world.
Before becoming pregnant here are 5 things you should do to help you have the
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin that contains 400mcg of Folic acid. Having a good storage of folic acid will decrease the chances of your baby having neural tube defects such as spina bifida & anencaphaly. Vitamins also contain other essential minerals essential to keeping us at our optimal health for pregnancy.
- Try to get to a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. Pregnancy takes a toll on your body and you need to be healthy to have a healthy pregnancy. Being overweight will also increase your chances of having complications with your pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hypertension. Being at a healthy weight may also help you achieve pregnancy.
- Talk to your doctor about the current medications you are taking. Many medications are harmful to a developing fetus. Most of your baby’s organs will form in the first several weeks after conception, before you realize you are pregnant. Since you are planning your pregnancy you are able to switch to safer medications or wean off or medications that can hurt your baby. Some medications such as those used to treat autoimmune disorders and some antibiotics can be especially harmful and should be avoided. http://www.otispregnancy.org
- If you have any pre-existing medical issues (i.e. diabetes, thyroid disease), it is important that you have them well controlled. You should be following strict direction of your health care provider to ensure that you are healthy enough to carry a baby. Having chronic conditions well controlled before becoming pregnant will decrease your chance of having miscarriage early in pregnancy and preterm deliveries.
- Stop smoking! You and your partner should stop smoking before pregnancy. There is a strong association between smoking during pregnancy and SIDS. There is also an association to SIDS and infants who live in a home with smokers. Children born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk of asthma, infantile colic, and childhood obesity. It is also harmful to bring a baby into the home of smokers. Babies respiratory systems are underdeveloped and fragile, exposure to second hand smoke, living and sleeping in buildings that are smoked in, and even cuddling with a smoker can be very harmful to an infant.
If you are considering pregnancy, it is an excellent idea to schedule a visit with your OBGYN or Women’s Health NP to discuss your future pregnancy. Your provider can give you specific information, help you make health and lifestyle adjustments, and encourage you along the way!
From your friendly neighborhood nurse!