Considering pregnancy? Visit your doctor first
If you are planning to become pregnant, it’s a good idea to have a pre-pregnancy check up with your doctor.
Allison P. Riley, MD, said, “While the first eight weeks of pregnancy are key weeks for your baby’s growth, most women don’t even know they’re pregnant until four to seven weeks after they’ve conceived. This is why it’s important to identify any risks before you get pregnant. It helps increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.”
Dr. Riley shared things you should consider when thinking of having a baby.
- Your tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Smoking, drinking alcohol and the use of drugs during pregnancy can have harmful effects on your baby. Stopping harmful behavior before pregnancy may reduce or even eliminate the risks of some birth defects.
- Your weight. Are you at a healthy weight? Excess weight during pregnancy is associated with several pregnancy and childbirth complications, including high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes. Babies born to mothers who are underweight are at higher risk for health problems, including preterm birth.
- Your nutrition. Although most of your nutrients should come from the foods you eat, it is a good idea to start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement when you are trying to get pregnant. Prenatal vitamin supplements contain all the recommended daily vitamins and minerals you will need before, during and even after your pregnancy.
- Your environment. Some substances found in your home or workplace may make it harder for a woman to become pregnant or could be harmful to an unborn baby. If pregnancy is in your near future, look closely at your home and workplace and the chemicals that you may be exposed to.
A pre-pregnancy visit to your doctor can help you be prepared for when that positive pregnancy test appears. “The best thing you can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby is to be your healthiest self,” said Dr. Riley.