5 Simple Steps to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy
Join the Mommy Docs as they count down The 10 Most Unbelievable Births on Discovery Health, Friday, July 16 at 9/8c (with encores the evening of Friday, July 16, at 11/10c; and Saturday, July 17, at 1/12c).
Here are a few simple actions you can take to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
See Your Doctor
If you have pre-existing medical conditions, these should be treated and/or under the best control possible to avoid potential problems in pregnancy. For example, women who are diabetic need to have optimum blood sugar control for three months before they conceive, because the glucose control for a diabetic when pregnant is much stricter than for a nonpregnant woman. Glucose control for a three-month period can be measured by a blood test called the hemoglobin A1C. The higher this number, the higher the risk for miscarriage and birth defects.
Women with thyroid conditions provide another example. If a woman has thyroid disease, her thyroid levels must be under control to conceive. Untreated thyroid disease during pregnancy can lead to lower IQ for the developing fetus.
Take folic acid on a regular basis three months before conception to ensure adequate levels of this nutrient, which helps with cell metabolism and prevention of birth defects. We recommend taking either a prenatal vitamin or 800mcg of folic acid for at least three months before conceiving.
Obesity leads to infertility, increased risk of miscarriage and cesarean delivery. If you are overweight now, the best thing you can do for your baby is to try and decrease your body weight to a healthier level before conceiving.
Alcohol, tobacco and drug use should be avoided once a woman has conceived. The risks from these substances begin right after conception, even when you do not know you are pregnant. Abstain from these substances after ovulation or at the minute you become pregnant.
Know the Truth
Myth buster: If you are on a hormonal form of contraceptive, you do not have to take a break or give time for the hormones to be "cleansed" from your body. As soon as you are on placebo pills or a week break from the patch or ring, those hormones are metabolized from your body. A woman will ovulate a week after stopping these methods—so go for it!
Dr. Yvonne Bohn, Dr. Allison Hill and Dr. Alane Park are the Mommy Docs. While they are doctors, they're also moms with six kids among them. They've welcomed more than 15,000 babies into the world. The Mommy Docs are featured in the TV series Deliver Me on the Discovery Health Channel. For more information on the Mommy Docs, visit mommydocs.com.
Are you currently taking any prepregnancy health steps? Share your story in the comments section.
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