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Pre-Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a major event! If you have a plan for it, you can make wise choices that will benefit both your health and that of your baby. Good health before pregnancy may lower the risk that either you of your baby will be exposed to things that could be harmful. Also, getting good health care before you become pregnant will help you throughout your pregnancy. At Habersham OB/Gyn we are here for you every step of the way. Please feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our providers regarding your decision to become pregnant.

Are your immunizations up to date? Women in their reproductive years should have immunizations as a routine part of preventive care:

Tetanus-diptheria booster (every 10 years) Measles, Mumps, Rubella (once if not immune) The following immunizations are need based. Your doctor will discuss with you the need for these immunization should it become a factor.

Food choices:

When making your food choices from each food group chose foods that are low in fat and high in fiber.

food pyramid

Folic Acid: The vital vitamin

Women who might get pregnant should have 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily. Pregnant women should have at least 0.4 milligrams each day during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Folic Acid should be taken 1 month prior to pregnancy and during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Folic Acid can also be found in many of food sources: Dark, leafy greens and vegetables such as spinach, collard and turnip greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli and asparagus. Whole-grain breads and cereals Citrus fruits and juices such as strawberries, oranges and orange juice. Organ meats such as liver needs dried peas and beans such as pinto, black, navy and lima, chickpeas and black-eyed peas. Folic acid fortified breakfast cereal.

Keep Fit:

Good health depends on both a proper diet and exercise. If you follow a fitness routine before you conceive, you can improve your chances of having a comfortable and active pregnancy. The sports and exercise you can do during pregnancy depend on your health and how active you were before you became pregnant. Swimming and walking are good forms of exercise. Jogging, cycling, and some strenuous sports may be fine during pregnancy if you are in shape and were used to them before you became pregnant.

Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco and Illegal Drugs These substances can harm both you and your fetus. No amount of these substances have been proven safe during pregnancy. Using alcohol and illegal drugs may cause damage that can last a lifetime. These substances can be linked to problems such as mental retardation and birth defects. Cigarette smoking can cause premature birth, low birth weight, premature rupture of membranes, and problems with the placenta. The risk of the baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) also increases. For the sake of your own health and that of your baby, now is a good time to quit your use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. If you find it is too hard to quit, at least cut down your use. If you need help the staff at Habersham OB/Gyn is here to help.

Conception

For healthy, young couples, the odds of becoming pregnant during any one menstrual cycle are about 20%. This figure starts to decline in a woman's late 20s and decreases even more after the age of 35. A man's fertility also decreases with age but not as early. Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of the ovaries. Ovulation occurs about 14 days after the first day of your last period in an average 28 day cycle. Once the egg is released it can become fertilized for about up to 24 hours. Conception can occur if you have sex during or near the time of ovulation. When a man ejaculates during sex, his semen is released into the vagina. Semen is the fluid that carries the sperm. Sperm travel up through the cervix and out into the tubes. Sperm can live in the woman's fallopian tubes for more than 3 days. If the sperm and the egg meet, fertilization occurs. The fertilized egg then moves through the tube into the uterus. It becomes attached and begins to grow.

Pre Conception Care

The aim of preconception care is to improve the health of women of reproductive age before conception, thereby improving pregnancy outcomes. Ideally, preconception care begins several months prior to attempting pregnancy. The counseling helps educate women so they cab be emotionally and physically prepared and healthy for pregnancy. It also addresses a woman's fertility status. Women with irregular periods may have more difficulty becoming pregnant.

Low birth weight, premature birth and infant mortality continue to occur at increased rates and evidence suggests that risk reduction efforts be started prior to conception. This includes changing/modifying behaviors, health conditions or risk factors that can lead to adverse outcomes. Any woman being treated for a medical disorder such as sickle cell anemia/diabetes/heart disease/hypertention/autoimmune disease/thyroid disease will benefit from counseling to insure her disease process is under control and change medicines that might adversely affect the fetus.

Not all women with special issues need preconception counseling. All women should take prenatal vitamins with folic acid prior to conceiving to reduce the risk of natal tube defects. The recommended amount of folic acid is 400 micrograms daily advises the Centers for Disease Control and the March of Dimes. All women need to know their options regarding genetic counseling and be able to discuss their readiness, financially and emotionally, to an anticipated pregnancy.

Prior to pregnancy women should be at a healthy weight and exercise regularly and make sure all immunizations and health screening are up to date.

The period of greatest environmental sensitivity for the developing fetus is between 17-56 days after fertilization. For this reason, by the time pregnancy is suspected the insult to the fetus and development are already affected. Therefore, alcohol/tobacco/non-prescription drug use needs to be discontinued.

The preconception visit includes a physical exam, review of medical history, review of family's medical background, questions about diet and social habits, review of the past pregnancies, birth control use, medications and immunizations, blood work to check for antibodies that protect from contracting Rubella (German Measles)/Hepatitis B and referral for genetic counseling if needed. HIV and STD screening is also offered.

Even if risk factors are identified, a healthy baby is the rule rather than the exception. Many adverse outcomes are multi-factorial and not explainable. With advanced planning and screening, you can experience pregnancy as a normal, joyous time with less stress and greater anticipation.

For information on prenatal testing options – see www.MyTestingOptions.com


Disclaimer:
The information on the Habersham OB/GYN web pages is provided for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified health care provider if you have a question about your particular medical condition.

Please feel free to email us We will respond as soon as possible. However, in an emergency situation, please do not email us. Call the office or 911 immediately, so that your emergency may be handled in a responsible amount of time.