Why Preconception Health Matters

Preconception Health

Preconception health refers to the state of a woman’s health before she becomes pregnant. It means understanding a woman’s health condition, her risk factors, and how they could affect her, and her unborn baby should she decide to get pregnant. This process includes considering habits, medicine, and food that can harm the baby even before they are conceived. Health problems of the mother can affect a pregnancy such as if she has diabetes, thus a woman should make her preconception health a priority by visiting an OB/GYN in San Antonio.

As a woman, your health should always come first, whether you’re planning to get pregnant or not. Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and according to research, unplanned pregnancies have higher chances of becoming preterm or low weight babies. In addition to that, about one in eight babies is born too early despite huge advances in prenatal care and medicine in general. Although scientists are still trying to prevent preterm births, they all agree that women will need to be healthy before becoming expectant. Taking proactive action to reduce health risks could help safeguard your health and that of your baby.

Preparations

Both men and women should prepare for pregnancy at least a few months before becoming sexually active. They can begin by doing things such as quitting drinking and smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and adjusting medicines they’re using.

To lower risks of birth defects of the brain and spine, you can take a daily dosage of folic acid. All women need folic acid. Talk to your doctor about the risks and prescription of taking prenatal vitamins that contain high amounts of folic acid.

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Ensure all your medical conditions are under control. This includes conditions such as diabetes, asthma, obesity or epilepsy, among others. Talk to your physician about any prescription medicines you’re using including over-the-counter supplements. Ensure your vaccinations are up to date. Lastly, avoid exposing yourself to toxic materials, which could cause infection and endanger the baby. Stay away from chemical substances.

Visiting Your Doctor

Preconception care can greatly improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and having a healthy baby. Preconception care should begin months before you get pregnant but if you’re already sexually active, talk to your doctor as soon as you can. Some women need time to get their body ready for pregnancy so be sure to factor this in. Talk to your doctor about your partner’s health as well.

Talk to your doctor about birth control and family planning. Discuss vaccines and screenings that you may need including Pap tests and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings. If you have other health problems such as diabetes, depression, and asthma, among others, find out from your doctor how they might affect your pregnancy. Discuss other ways to further improve your overall health, such as making healthy food choices and being physically active, reducing stress and reducing weight.

Genetic Counseling

Genes can affect your baby’s health. Single gene disorders are caused by an issue in a single gene. Examples of single-gene disorders include sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Since genes carry information, single-gene disorders run in families. On the other hand, chromosome disorders occur when a part or the whole chromosome is missing or if the structure of the chromosome is abnormal. Genes are located within chromosomes thus, chromosome disorders do not run in families.

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