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5 Reasons To Schedule A Preconception Visit
Before you get that telltale “glow,” you have to conceive. Before you conceive, you have some planning to do, and one of those planning steps is to schedule a preconception appointment with South Shore Women’s Health. You may wonder why, so here are 5 reasons to schedule a preconception visit even if it’s not your first child.
Make Sure YOU Are Healthy
About 3 months before you become pregnant, schedule your preconception care visit. Even if you have already given birth, your health may have changed since your last pregnancy. This is especially important if you have already had a premature birth, a miscarriage, stillbirth, or if you have a child with a birth defect.
Certain medical conditions like depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and not being at a healthy weight can all affect your pregnancy.
Keep in mind that the healthier you are increases the likelihood your child will be healthy too.
Eliminate or Reduce The Chance Of Birth Defects
This is the time to examine any lifestyle habits that can affect your baby’s health. If you are a smoker, you will most likely be counseled to stop. South Shore Women’s Health can recommend a healthcare counselor if you think you can’t do it on your own.
If you haven’t been tested for sexually transmitted diseases, this is the time to do it. Your partner should be tested as well.
There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant, the CDC tells us. Any type of alcohol is dangerous including beer and wine. Drinking during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and many other physical and cognitive disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders or FASDs.
If you were drinking before you knew you were pregnant, stop immediately. It’s never too late to stop. Then discuss with your doctor.
Increase The Probability Of A Healthy Baby
The next important reason to schedule a preconception visit is to increase your chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Discuss with South Shore Women’s Health all the OTC meds and prescription meds you regularly take. They need to be safe for your baby. Include supplements and herbal products. Don’t stop taking any prescription drugs without your doctor’s OK. If you stop taking meds for asthma, depression, or diabetes, it can be harmful to your baby.
Get caught up on all vaccinations prior to pregnancy as things like chickenpox and rubella can harm babies. And, of course, get your flu shot.
Get Tested For Any Genetic Conditions
Now is the time to get tested for any conditions which could impact your fetus, but genetic testing is your choice.
Genetic conditions are passed from parents to children through your genes. You may be a carrier, but not actually have the disease. If your partner is also a carrier, it increases the risk your child may have the condition.
You can get screened for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, Down syndrome, fragile x syndrome, and Tay-Sachs disease.
Recommendations Of Things to Do (And Not Do)
Your physician will list some things to do and not do as you prepare to get pregnant.
The may include the following:
- Take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and maintain the proper body weight
- Eat lots of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, and 8-12 oz of fish per week. Avoid fish high in mercury like tilefish, shark, and swordfish.
- Be open about any incidences of violence in the home.
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas early in your pregnancy.
- Schedule a dental appointment to avoid gum issues.
Contact a South Shore Women’s Health location for a preconception visit if you are planning to become pregnant in the next few months.