What can you do ahead of time to help you have a healthy pregnancy? Dr. Simone Majetich, a family physician with Lake Health Physician Group SOM Center Primary Care, shares some advice she gives to her patients:
As a family physician, I like to work with my patients on their “reproductive plan.” This involves discussing their current contraceptive needs, if they want to have children and their timeline for pregnancies. There is a lot you can do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy before you get pregnant.
Helping your body prepare for pregnancy
You can work closely with your physician to improve your general health, including optimizing your weight, blood pressure and other medical conditions. There are several medications that can cause birth defects, so it’s important to identify these and discontinue them if you are trying to get pregnant or as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. It’s also important to make sure you are up to date on your immunizations to protect you and your baby.
Should I take prenatal vitamins when I’m trying to get pregnant?
You can start prenatal vitamins in advance, which helps to support the growing baby especially during those first few weeks when the baby’s organs are developing. Even if you don’t yet know you are pregnant, this can help to reduce the chances of birth defects.
There are many other things you can do to help keep your pregnancy healthy and reduce your risk of complications. You should avoid smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs; practice good hand hygiene; avoid eating undercooked meats and unpasteurized foods; and avoid mosquito bites in Zika-prevalent areas. Take time to talk with your doctor about your normal eating and exercise habits.
When is fertility testing a good idea?
If you’re younger than 35 and haven’t been able to get pregnant after 12 months of unprotected frequent intercourse, it may be time to talk to your physician about fertility testing. Otherwise, focusing on improving your health and optimizing your medical conditions can lead to a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Start planning today.