Are you considering becoming pregnant?
Take a look at some of these pregnancy preparation tips to increase your chances of having a safe, healthy pregnancy.
#1 Preconception Appointment
Consider scheduling a preconception appointment with your provider or Obstetrician. What is a preconception appointment? A preconception appointment is an opportunity to talk with a provider about your specific goals, expectations, and risk counseling. Learn more about what preparations and precautions are recommended by your provider, including diet, lifestyle, and medications. Discuss issues such as family histories for you and your partner and if genetic counseling might be appropriate for you. This is also a time to discuss your current medical conditions and if the medications you are taking are safe to continue when planning to become pregnant.
#2 Healthy Weight
Achieve best health goals, including a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a healthy weight. You can calculate your BMI here: cdc.gov/healthyweight
Being overweight, BMI 25- 29.9, and obese, BMI > 30 can make it more difficult to get pregnant and raise your risks of complications. Excess weight can alter the hormone balance in your body which can affect your fertility. Also, women who are overweight or obese prior to conceiving are at higher risks of pregnancy complications including high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Discuss optimal weight with your provider, and strategies to lose weight including diet changes, lowering calorie intake, and increasing physical activity.
Conversely, being underweight, BMI under 18.4 can also make it difficult to conceive and pose risks to a pregnancy, including preterm birth and low birth weight. Women who are underweight may have irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation patterns, making it harder to get pregnant.
Take your vitamins – start prenatal vitamins and folic acid now! Having folic acid, 400 micrograms a day, in your system BEFORE you conceive is the recommendation to prevent neural tube defects. Some studies also show taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant may lower the chances of morning sickness, or nausea associated with taking prenatal vitamins once you are pregnant.
Staying physically active before and during your pregnancy is an important component to your health and well-being. Aim for 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week, which can be broken up such as three – 10 minutes activities, or as one interval. Incorporate at least two days a week of strength training as well. It is important to discuss exercise regimen with your provider once you are pregnant, as certain conditions and exercises may need to be modified.
Erin Radocchia, APRN
Family Medicine Associates
Medical Weight Loss for Life
Medica Laser & Rejuvenation
Resources for more information regarding pregnancy planning:
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