Most people know that having a baby will completely change their lives. However, many fail to realize that their lives may have to change dramatically even before the baby’s conception. Before preparing the nursery, individuals need to talk with their doctors about preparing their lives. Here is a list of things that should be discussed with a doctor before conception.
Women with a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered to be at a healthy weight. These women do not need to be concerned that their weight would interfere with conception.
However, overweight and obese women (those with a BMI higher than 25.0) have a harder time getting pregnant than their thinner counterparts. As a result, these women may need to seek out infertility treatments, which could be anything from a medication to IVF, in order to conceive.
Women who have a BMI of less than 18.5 are considered to be underweight. The cause of their low weight will determine whether or not their fertility is affected. A woman who is naturally thin and has regular periods need not worry that her weight will impact her fertility.
While exercise is encouraged for everyone, there is such thing as too much in the case of women trying to get pregnant. Spending hours doing vigorous exercise can cause a woman to stop having periods, which is also a sign that she has stopped ovulating. For these individuals, the solution could be as simple as cutting back on the number of times they work out, or modifying their exercise program to include more low-impact activities, like water aerobics, walking, or elliptical training.
Nearly everything the mother consumes passes through the placenta on the way to the baby, including any medications mom might be taking. While some medications, including Metformin (which is used to treat poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) or acetaminophen (a pain-killer) will not negatively affect the baby, other medications, like Zoloft (an anti-depressant), could severely harm the child. Many doctors recommend discontinuing the use of these medications prior to conception so that they will pose little to no risk to the baby. “Discussing current medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, with an experienced medial specialist is highly advised,” says Dr. Gilbert Webb.
The habit of eating a well-balanced diet before the baby is conceived is advantageous. Most importantly, the mother-to-be needs to ensure that she is getting enough folic acid. Folic acid has been found to decrease birth defects in babies, as well as lessen the chances of a preterm birth.
Leafy green vegetables and whole grain foods contain some folic acid, but the mother should also be taking a prenatal vitamin which contains at least 400 mg of folic acid per pill. The mother should also be consuming a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats, including those found in olive and coconut oils.
Personal and Family Medical History
Finally, before conception, both the mother and father should be well aware of their own personal and family medical histories and be prepared to discuss them with their doctor. Some genetic and chromosomal disorders run in the family, and may be inherited by the baby even if neither parent has them. Additionally, diseases like hypertension, insulin resistance or even thyroid disorders can be exacerbated by pregnancy, and should be carefully monitored by a doctor throughout the pregnancy.
Having a baby is a big and important step in anyone’s life. The best way to ensure a successful transition into this new lifestyle is by getting regular care from a competent medical professional who has experience in helping mothers through pregnancy, labor, and delivery.