It's never too late:
Preconception care is all about finding problems that may adversely affect future pregnancy. And taking care of them "before" getting pregnant. This includes getting a thorough check up by a doctor, updating your immunizations, living a healthier lifestyle and taking at least 400 micro-grams of folic acid as a prevention against neural tube defects in the baby.
Why a Check Up?
The aim of a check up is to help the doctor identify any problems that may arise when you get pregnant. Doctor will take a detailed medical and familial history to note whether any genetic or inherited disorders run in the family. You will be asked about any specific medical condition and if you are on regular medication.
Your doctor will then advise you as to how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Give up smoking and drinking.
Exercise, eat healthy, nutritious food and tackle weight issues.
Start taking vitamin and folic acid supplements even before getting pregnant. Taking folic acid can help prevent two common and very serious neural tube defects in the baby. These occur as early as 3 to 4 weeks after conception before many women even come to know that they are pregnant.
How to deal with overweight?
If you are overweight you will need to lose weight before you get pregnant as obesity is associated with several pregnancy and delivery problems such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, premature birth, gestational diabetes, overweight babies and increased likelihood of birth defects and intervention during delivery.
If you are under nourished, underweight then too you could have problems. So you will need to take a better diet and put on some weight. If anaemic, you will need to take Vitamin B12 and iron supplements to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of your blood.
Dietary Care Required:
You can turn to organic food to avoid toxins in your system. Avoid cleaning chemicals and exposure to pesticides and bug sprays. Reduce intake of certain fish that might contain mercury. Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, albacore and shark meat contain high levels of mercury. These can accumulate in your body and harm your baby in the future. Fish that are safe to eat are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
Clear the previous infections:
Any infections that you have including dental infections, especially sexually transmitted diseases must necessarily be cleared up before pregnancy. STDs in pregnancy can pose a serious risk to both mother and baby.
Immunizations, a strict yes yes:
You may need to catch up on your immunizations. Some vaccines will need to be given during pregnancy, but the rubella (German measles) and varicella (chicken pox) vaccines should be given before pregnancy.
Tests that will be done:
You may need to be tested for rubella, STDs, genetic disorders, blood group, hepatitis C and thyroid disorders. You will also need to get a breast exam along with a mammogram. Also a PAP smear to check for cervical dysplasia.
Reduce your stress, stay healthy and aware. Ask a gynecologist online, download LAIMA.