Pre-pregnancy health care means ensuring good health before getting pregnant. A pre-pregnancy health checkup provides clear direction to you and your doctor. Pre-pregnancy health care helps you become healthier before you get pregnant. A healthy woman is more likely to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. It also helps you to get your body and mind ready before you become pregnant.
Pre-pregnancy health care reduces the risk of problems during pregnancy and after birth. Your doctor will recommend ways to get proper nutrition and avoid habits that can have lasting harmful effects on your future baby.
Benefits Of Pre-pregnancy Health Care:
- You can get pregnant more easily
- You can have a healthy pregnancy
- You can minimize or prevent pregnancy complications
- You can give birth to a healthy baby
- You can have a quick recovery after delivery
- You can have a pleasant postpartum experience
- You can reduce your baby’s risk for future health problems
Call your doctor and inform him/her about your decision to get pregnant and fix an appointment. At this appointment, your doctor will ask several questions about your past health history and other things that could affect your pregnancy.
During your first pre-pregnancy visit, your doctor will discuss the following things:
Your Present Health Conditions
Your doctor will ask you about any medical conditions you currently have so that he/she treat and control them before you get pregnant. Some medical conditions that could affect pregnancy are; diabetes, thyroid disease, seizure disorders, high blood pressure, phenylketonuria (PKU), arthritis, eating disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Your Lifestyle and Habits
Your doctor will ask you about your habits, such as smoking, alcohol intake, and/or use of street drugs. He/she will also ask about the stressful or abusive environment at home or exposure to toxic substances at home or work. Tell everything. Your doctor can help you quit or avoid these hazardous habits with counseling, treatment, and other support services.
Your Current Medications
Your doctor will ask you about all the medicines you are taking currently. Taking certain prescription and OTC medicines and dietary and herbal supplements during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Take a list of medicines and supplements you are taking when you see your doctor. Your doctor will guide you about what to continue, what to discontinue, and will make changes in medicines or dosage if necessary. He/she will make sure that you take only those medications that don’t cause any risk to your future pregnancy and the baby.
Your Vaccination Status
Your doctor will make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines to help protect you and your baby from serious diseases. He/she will recommend some vaccinations before you become pregnant, during pregnancy, or right after delivery. Taking the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you healthy and help protect your baby-to-be from getting sick or having lifelong health problems.
Your Diet And Nutrition
Your doctor will ask you about your diet and nutrition. What you eat should contain the right nutrients, as what you eat also feed your baby. The doctor will guide you about what to eat to get plenty of calcium, folic acid, protein, and iron.
Your doctor will ensure that you maintain good health and prepare your body and mind for upcoming pregnancy. Your doctor will ask you to:
Start Taking 400 Micrograms Of Folic Acid Daily
A woman should have enough folic acid in her body at least one month before and during pregnancy. This helps prevent major birth defects to the baby’s brain and spine. Start taking 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid daily.
Attain And Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you are obese, overweight, or underweight, discuss with your doctor about how to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Obesity or overweight is known to increase the risk of severe complications during pregnancy. Obesity can cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). Being underweight can also increase your risk of serious health problems during pregnancy. Your doctor will suggest how to make certain lifestyle and dietary changes, and regular physical activity.
Exercise And Physical Activity
If you are exercising regularly, continue it. Being fit will help you have an easy pregnancy and delivery. If you have not been exercising, start it before you get pregnant. However, you should discuss with your doctor about your exercise program. He/she will guide you about what and how much exercise is good for you. Sometimes, overdoing it can make getting pregnant harder.
Quit Smoking, Stop Drinking Alcohol and Using Street Drugs
Smoking, alcohol intake, and using street drugs during pregnancy are known to cause many problems, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death. They also cause several health problems to the pregnant woman.
If you are unable to stop drinking, smoking, or using drugs, your doctor will help you quit these harmful habits.
Avoid Toxic Materials and Contaminants
Avoid toxic materials and other environmental contaminants, such as synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces. Take steps to avoid them at home or work before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. These harmful materials can hurt your reproductive system and make it more difficult to get pregnant. Exposure to them can lead to diseases, which can affect your pregnancy.
Know Your Family Health History
Collect information regarding your and your partner’s family health history and share it with your doctor before getting pregnant. It is very important to protect your child from certain genetic conditions, birth defects, and future health problems. Based on your and your partner’s family history, your doctor will take certain steps to protect your child’s health. He/she might also refer you for genetic counseling.
Maintain A Good Mental Health
Maintaining good mental health helps you to have a healthy pregnancy. Mental health is how we think, feel, and act as we get on with life. It is normal to feels anxious, worried, sad, or stressed sometimes. However, if these feelings persist and interfere with your normal daily life, discuss it with your doctor. He/she will treat and help you deal with it or refer you to a mental health doctor for treatment.