If you are thinking about having a baby, it's best to consult with a doctor at least three months before you begin trying to get pregnant. An experienced pregnancy doctor can help you avoid complications that can arise during pregnancy due to existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Your doctor can also help you put together a plan that will lower the risk of birth defects and even pre-term births.
Women who aren't planning to have a child, but are sexually active, might also want to consider preconception medicine in the event that an unexpected pregnancy occurs.
The first step in preconception medicine is to assess aspects of your lifestyle that could lead to an unhealthy pregnancy. During these consultations, your doctor may address negative habits such as drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking cigarettes.
Your doctor may also analyze your weight to help recommend nutrition and exercise plans that will get your body into the right condition before you try to conceive.
Some preexisting medical conditions could lead to complications during pregnancy. These will need to be addressed as well. Some of them may include:
- Oral health
Your doctor will review your medical history to ensure that your vaccinations are up to date and discuss any medications or over the counter supplements you may be taking.
Your doctor may also recommend a pap test to study the cells in your cervix as well as health screenings to identify any sexually transmitted diseases you may have. Any of these conditions could potentially impact your health and the health of your baby.
If you are over the age of 35, have had two or more miscarriages or you have a family history of complications during or after pregnancy, we may recommend genetic counseling. Your doctor may review your genetic background including traits you may have inherited from your parents as well as conditions that may be related to your ethnic background.
Taking the steps to understand your unique genetic make-up can lower the risk of birth defects and lead to a healthier pregnancy for both you and your child.