Why Preconception Care Matters

Female Patient And Nurse Have Consultation In Hospital Room; blog: Why Preconception Care Matters

All women should practice good habits and be aware of their health. But for women who are planning on becoming pregnant, certain things become even more important. That’s where preconception care comes in. Seeing an OB/GYN for preconception counseling can help a woman physically prepare for conception and pregnancy. If you see pregnancy in your future, then consider making a preconception appointment with your women’s healthcare provider.

Get Guidance on Nutrition and Lifestyle Choices

Your doctor can give you advice on what your diet should look like while you try to conceive. Forming good habits and eating a balanced diet could increase your chances of getting pregnant and benefit you when you do pregnant. Most importantly, you should start paying attention to certain nutrients. The main thing you need to get more of is folic acid. The following guidelines are from the US Office on Women’s Health

  • Take 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day if you are planning or capable of pregnancy to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine, including spina bifida. All women need folic acid every day. Talk to your doctor about your folic acid needs. Some doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain higher amounts of folic acid.

If you smoke, your doctor will advise you to stop immediately. Smoking will decrease your chances of conceiving (it can even shorten your entire fertile period), but more importantly cigarette smoke is extremely harmful to fetuses if you do get pregnant. Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause infection at work and at home. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces

Discuss Health Concerns and Risks

If you have a chronic health condition or a serious illness in your history, you should address any possible complications during your preconception appointment. Conditions to discuss include diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, and asthma. Make sure you are up to date on preventative care and vaccinations. You should also talk to your physician about any medications you are taking, both prescription and over the counter. Some medications are not safe to take while pregnant so you need to make a plan to discontinue or replace them.

Talk About Genetic Risks 

Certain conditions run in families. If you have a genetic condition or there are things in your family history that you are worried you might pass on to your baby, talk to your doctor about your concerns. This goes for your partner and their family as well. This information can help your doctor find out any genetic risks you might have.

If you or your partner are at risk of passing on a genetic disorder to your child, your doctor may refer you to a genetics professional. The Office on Women’s Health recommends getting genetic counseling to couples who have the following risk factors:

  • A family history of a genetic condition, birth defect, chromosomal disorder, or cancer
  • Two or more pregnancy losses, a stillbirth, or a baby who died
  • A child with a known inherited disorder, birth defect, or intellectual disability
  • A woman who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant at 35 years or older
  • Test results that suggest a genetic condition is present
  • Increased risk of getting or passing on a genetic disorder because of one’s ethnic background
  • People related by blood who want to have children together

Get on the Same Page with Your Healthcare Team

At Raleigh OB/GYN we pride ourselves on providing our patients with comprehensive healthcare whether they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or just in need of gynecologic care. We understand how important your health is no matter your reproductive status. But for women who are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, we can help you prepare your body for a healthy conception and pregnancy. If you are planning to get pregnant soon and want to talk to a healthcare professional about preconception care and planning, call us at (336) 538-2367 to make an appointment.

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