Prepare for a good start with preconception counseling
At our San Antonio OBGYN practice, we believe in giving mothers and their babies the best start in life with preconception counseling. If you’re considering getting pregnant now or in the years to come, an appointment with one of our obstetricians can help you get started.
Because half of all pregnancies in this country fall under the “unplanned” category, everyone can benefit from preconception counseling. Your doctor will assess your goals and incorporate your health history into an actionable plan have a healthy baby. Your family-building timeline, medical conditions and overall health will help determine next steps for treatment and potential follow-up visits.
Considering becoming pregnant in the next five years
Preconception counseling at this point will focus on overall health. Adopting healthy habits now will lay the foundation for successful conception later.
- Practice safe sex. Abstaining from unprotected intercourse helps you avoid sexually transmitted diseases that can impair fertility.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Underweight women can have problems with ovulation and nourishing a growing baby. Overweight women may also experience infertility issues related to ovulation.
- Abstain from smoking, drugs and excessive drinking. Women who smoke may have trouble conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term. Cigarette smoke is also associated with low birth weight babies.
- Take care of medical conditions. Uncontrolled medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, eating disorders, high blood pressure, seizure disorders and thyroid disease, can harm a pregnant woman.
Preconception counseling can help when you wish to become pregnant in the next year
It’s especially important that you schedule a preconception counseling appointment in the months leading to conception. Your San Antonio OBGYN will discuss ovulation predictors, prenatal vitamins and strategies for achieving a healthy body mass index.
In addition to the suggestions listed above, we also recommend the following steps.
- Stay current on your vaccinations. You do not want to find out you are pregnant and not up-to-date on a vaccine. Your doctor will review your immunization records to ensure that you and your baby are protected against diseases such as rubella, hepatitis B and varicella.
- Discuss your medications. We can suggest alternatives to certain medications that are unsafe to take should you become pregnant.
- Begin taking a folic acid supplement. The simple act of taking a prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid protects your baby from neural tube defects.
- Keep an eye on the biological clock. Did you know that fertility begins to decline once a woman reaches age 35? The peak reproductive years fall within a woman’s 20s and early 30s.
- Know your carrier status by scheduling preconception genetic testing. Anyone can benefit from carrier testing, a blood test that gauges your risk for passing along inherited genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and Tay Sachs.
Planning a pregnancy starts well before the test turns positive. Contact the experts in prenatal health to schedule a preconception counseling session with our San Antonio OBGYNs..