So, you’re planning a baby? Having a healthy baby means that you need to make sure you’re healthy too.
At Evolve Women’s Health we focus on improving the mother’s health before getting pregnant, to increase the chances of having a healthy baby and a safer pregnancy. The purpose of preconception care is to assess any potential risks to you and your baby and to manage any medical conditions you may have before conceiving. Pre-existing medical conditions may include diabetes, thyroid disorders, hypertension, epilepsy, obesity and renal disease.
Please make an appointment to see Dr Chettle when you are planning for pregnancy. During your appointment, a physical examination will be performed, and you will be asked about your medical history, reproductive history, vaccination status, diet, lifestyle and other habits.
Getting the right advice and following doctor’s instructions will help you to get ready for a healthy conception and baby. You should raise any concerns regarding pregnancy and other health related issues. Some blood tests may be ordered to check your health. Any medical conditions that run in your family, especially genetic problems, should be discussed in order to individualise your care.
Dr Chettle may involve a multi-disciplinary care team to assist you in your journey to pregnancy. These professionals may include your GP, a dietitian, a physiotherapist or a psychologist.
Here’s a few things you need to think about before you actually fall pregnant;
- Ensure your vaccinations are up to date – Vaccinations for Rubella (German measles), Varicella (chicken pox) and Hepatitis B at least one to six months before pregnancy.
- Folic Acid – One of the most important things you can do to help prevent serious birth defects in your baby is to get enough folic acid every day — especially in the 3-months leading into conception and during early pregnancy. Finding a good pregnancy multivitamin supplement will ensure you get the right amount of folic acid as well as other vital multivitamins to help support a healthy pregnancy.
- Iodine – Mild to moderate iodine deficiency can result in learning difficulties and affect the development of motor skills and the hearing of your baby. Most women who get pregnant should have enough iodine, however, it may not be enough to meet the additional needs of pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Pregnant women should take an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms each day.
- Healthy Eating – Having good dietary habits and consuming foods rich in folic acid, calcium, fibre and other nutrients will help maintain a healthy pregnancy. It’s also important to reduce the intake of caffeine before becoming pregnant.
- Weight – It is always better to have an ideal weight before you conceive. Gaining weight if you are underweight will reduce the risk of having a low birth-weight baby, and reducing weight if you are overweight will prevent the risk of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and a large baby during pregnancy.
- Lifestyle – Habits such as alcohol consumption, smoking and use of recreational drugs by yourself or your partner are not conducive to a healthy pregnancy.
- Current medications – you should inform your doctor of any prescription, over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements that you may be currently taking. This can help prevent any potential problems during your pregnancy.
- Environment – consider potential hazards to conception or maintaining a pregnancy, such as exposure to lead, toxic solvents, radiation and cat faeces.