Planning to conceive a child is an exciting thing. But it is also filled with important responsibilities. Not only do financial responsibilities for this child matter, but the social habits of the parents, and the health of the mother, are important as well. To that end, think about the following as you get ready to have a baby:
1. If either parent smokes, this is the time to quit! There are lots of over the counter aids, on-line tips, and even prescription medications that can help. This is the time for BOTH parents, and not just the prospective mom, to quit.
2. Drinking alcohol in pregnancy is not recommended, so moderating use during the time leading up to conception is a good idea.
3. Drug use, such as prescription drugs, should be reviewed with your Ob/Gyn prior to trying to conceive. While some drugs are safe to take during pregnancy, many should be stopped as soon as a pregnancy test is positive. There may be others that should be changed even prior to trying to conceive. Of course, illegal drug use should be stopped immediately.
4. Review your weight prior to conceiving. While everyone would like to be at their ideal weight, new studies reveal that the mother's BMI prior to conception can be more important than ever. A BMI of 30 or above can increase the risk for C-section, as well as gestational diabetes and blood pressure problems. A BMI over 35 at conception has been associated with increased risks of health problems, such as childhood diabetes, in the children of these mothers. Increasing exercise, workouts with light weights, avoiding starches, and decreasing total calories can help you lower your BMI if that is needed.
5. Folic acid supplementation at least 6 weeks prior to conception can decrease the risk of spina bifida.
Do not hesitate to call our office with questions regarding these or other topics. As your Ob/Gyn I am happy to make a consultation appointment to help with these issues!
Braden Richmond, MD, FACOG