Preparing for Pregnancy

“The best first gift a woman can give her baby is a healthy home for the 40 weeks of pregnancy, ” said Amanda Nicols, a physician at The Woman’s Clinic. We suggest starting with a thorough check-up that includes a medical history and lifestyle evaluation. And don’t forget daily prenatal vitamins.”

Once you become pregnant of course the care should become more vigilant. The gynecologists at The Women’s Clinic strive to maintain your health and health of your baby. They screen and monitor for any high-risk conditions and also spend time educating you and your family about pregnancy, birth and early parenting. It’s easy to take pregnancy and birth for granted, but there’s really a lot that goes into it.

The decision to have a baby is personal and life changing. If you are contemplating becoming pregnant you may have many questions and concerns such as: Is this the right time? Am I financially ready? While many of these decisions will be ones only you can answer there are some questions and decisions that can be handled by your gynecologist. If you are planning to become pregnant soon, now is the time to consider your health and creating a healthy physical environment for your baby.

Preconceptual Care

Even if you don’t choose to have a pre-pregnancy visit with you gynecologist there are still many things you can begin to do to create a healthy environment for your future child.

  • Begin making healthy eating choices.
  • Start an exercise routine that you can carry on throughout your pregnancy. You should consult with your doctor if you are beginning a new exercise program.
  • Have a complete physical examination to determine your own health. If you have recently had an annual exam with your ob/gyn, this may not be necessary. Among other considerations, you will want to be sure you are up to date on your immunizations.
  • Begin taking prenatal vitamins. Your doctor can recommend a brand, if you’re unsure. It’s very important for you to begin getting adequate folic acid. Women planning to become pregnant should take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to help prevent open neural tube defects in the fetus. You may also wish to start taking a Vitamin D supplement.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Speak with your physician about any recreational, prescription, herbal or over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
  • Avoid environmental hazards, such as radiation and chemicals.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine.
  • Stock up on sleep.

Your gynecologist will be more than happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Preparing for pregnancy can be a time that is filled with a variety of emotions and it is important to be in communication with your spouse and gynecologist. Be sure to talk with your gynecologist about any medical problems you may have such as diabetes, high-blood pressure or any kind of cardiovascular problems that may need to be monitored during the pregnancy.

Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should have vaccinations as a routine part of preventive care:

  • Tetanus–diphtheria booster (every 10 years)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (once if not immune)
  • Varicella vaccine (once if not immune)
  • Human papillomavirus (once between the ages 9 and 26 years)
  • Chicken pox* (once if not immune)
  • Hepatitis A vaccine*
  • Hepatitis B vaccine*
  • Influenza vaccine*
  • Pneumococcal vaccine*

*These immunizations are given as needed based on risk factors. Check with your health care provider.

It is important to be vaccinated before becoming pregnant because some vaccines are not safe to use during pregnancy. Women who will be pregnant during the influenza (flu) season (October through mid-May) should be vaccinated. The vaccine is safe for use during pregnancy, however be sure to talk with your gynecologist before getting any vaccines.

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