Patients who are trying to get pregnant (or are thinking about it!) often ask us for our top tips on what they can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy:
Take a prenatal vitamin Your baby’s development starts before you know you’re pregnant. Folic acid, which is in prenatal vitamins, helps the baby’s spinal cord and brain to develop properly. Taking a prenatal vitamin every day will help promote normal development right from the start.
Stop bad habits Tobacco, drugs and alcohol can all adversely affect pregnancy in many ways, including the baby’s development and growth, and possible preterm delivery. If you’re having problems stopping any of these things, your physician know can assist you with these changes.
Develop good lifestyle choices Eating healthful foods, maintaining a normal weight and exercising help to promote a healthy pregnancy. Women who practice these lifestyle choices will have fewer issues with diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy, and also will have a higher chance of a vaginal delivery.
Try to Avoid Infections While it’s not possible to avoid every cold bug around, there are a few things you can do to help. Avoid unpasteurized dairy, and reheat lunch meat and hot dogs to help prevent an infection with Listeria, a food borne bacteria that sometimes inhabits these products. Make sure vaccinations, including chicken pox and flu, are up to date. If you are pregnant and develop a fever, let your doctor know. Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Their extreme temperature can be dangerous.
Keep your ob/gyn informed and updated By letting your ob/gyn know when you are hoping to become pregnant, she or he can review your medical history and recommend medications that may need to be stopped or changed, and advise whether certain health conditions should be in better control before pregnancy. Your ob/gyn also will discuss how long it may take to become pregnant and what to expect once you are.
OB/GYNs Paula A. Duncan, M.D. and Tera S. Conway, M.D. practice with Zubritzky & Christy, OB/GYN Associates. Contact them at 412.942.1066.