Thank you for visiting this page! Although many pregnancies happen unexpectedly, if you plan for it, you can make wise choices that will benefit both your health and that of your baby. Your Arbor ObGyn clinicians are eager to help you optimize your health in preparation for pregnancy.
Women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid for at least 1-3 months before planning a pregnancy. Adequate intake of folic acid has been found to reduce open neural tube defects such as spina bifida. All prenatal vitamins have an adequate amount of folic acid. Folic acid can also be found in foods such as dark, leafy greens and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, citrus fruits, dried peas and beans and fortified breakfast cereals.
Good health depends on both a proper diet and exercise. Exercise is encouraged in pregnancy but this is not a time to begin a new exercise program. Use the time before a pregnancy to become physically fit so that you will be able to continue to exercise during your pregnancy. As dieting is not appropriate for pregnancy, pre-pregnancy is the time for optimizing your weight. If you are currently overweight, achieving a normal weight before conception decreases the risk of complications for you and your baby. If you are unsure what your weight should be, we would be happy to help you set goals and make a plan for weight loss before conception.
Smoking has been found to cause preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes and low birth weight. Alcohol and other drugs also adversely affect pregnancy. No amount of smoking, alcohol, or recreational drugs have been demonstrated as safe during pregnancy. For the sake of your health and your baby, please stop smoking/drinking/drugs before getting pregnant. If you are looking for support for smoking cessation, we can help with that too. One of the local options is a program called ‘You Quit, Two Quit’. youquittwoquit.org
Are you taking any prescription medicines? If so, please speak with your provider about whether it is safe to continue them when trying to conceive. Some prescription drugs can increase the risk of birth defects and we may need time before conception to change your medicines. Please do not stop taking any physician recommended medicine without talking with your prescribing provider first.
Are your immunizations up-to-date? Exposure to rubella in early pregnancy can cause several birth defects in the fetus. We recommend that you have a rubella test to see if you still have strong immunization levels from your childhood MMR vaccine. If not, we will prescribe the vaccine; you will need to wait another month before attempting to get pregnant however.
The Tdap vaccine protects you against three diseases-Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping cough). If you’ve never had the Tdap vaccine, ask your provider if you should get the shot before pregnancy. Newborns less than six months of age are very susceptible to whooping cough and boosting your immunity before pregnancy is the best way to protect your baby from whooping cough.
The best way to protect yourself, your baby and your family against the flu is to get the vaccine, especially if you are trying to conceive during the flu season (typically October through March).
Your work environment may expose you to things that might pose a risk to you or your baby. Your employer should be able to provide you with information regarding hazardous materials that you might be exposed to.
Poor dental hygiene has been associated with risk of preterm labor. Having a dental exam and any recommended dental work is best done before conception. Routine dental cleanings during the pregnancy are permitted.
Assessing your family history and your partner’s family history is important. There are some disorders that are inherited or more common in certain ethnic groups, such as Jewish heritage or African descent. This may include such diseases as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell disease. You can be screened prenatally for some of these diseases and also be referred to a genetic counselor for more information to determine your risk.
Would you like to have a Preconception Visit at the Arbor ObGyn office? A visit with you and your partner can help optimized your pre-pregnancy health and enable you be have a healthy start to your pregnancy. We recommend this counseling visit for women particularly if:
- this will be your first pregnancy
- you have chronic medical problems
- you take prescription medications
- you have a concerning family medical history
- you have had problems with a previous pregnancy