So you are thinking that you want to have a baby! One of the most important things is to make sure that you and your partner are in great health, before you begin the baby making process. A perfect place to start is with your regular doctor or your OB-GYN. A preconception checkup will cover all of the important things that you need to before conceiving. Your health and lifestyle are important factors that can affect your ability to conceive, your doctor will be able to go through a complete health history with you. They will also be able to look at your partner’s health history as well. If you are someone that suffers from a chronic health condition, it is even more important for you to meet with a doctor.
Some health conditions that may need medical monitoring, especially prior to family planning:
- High blood pressure
- Depression/Mood disorders
It is essential that you be honest and straightforward with your doctor about your lifestyle and health so that they can completely understand you and your body. This is the same for the men as well, as their health is just as essential in the role of conception. If either of you and uncomfortable about bringing up past health or lifestyles issues with your doctor in front of each other, simply request a private consultation.
Below is a list of important things that your doctor will want to know about. (Remember, your doctor is not there to judge you, but to help you become your best as you begin the family planning process.
Fertility can be negatively affected by the following:
- Drug use
- Previous miscarriages and/or abortions
- Exposure to environmental hazards
There are a few things that you can do beforehand to help ensure good health. Begin taking a prenatal vitamin on a daily basis. Prenatal vitamins can be found at your local drug store, a prescription isn’t necessary. Be sure to check and see that your prenatal includes an adequate amount of folate (folic acid, at least 400-500 mg.) as this will help to prevent some birth defects.
It is also important to eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise. Studies have shown women who are underweight or overweight may have an increased risk with fertility problems. If you are concerned about your weight, be sure to mention it at your preconception visit with your doctor. They will be able to advise you of a healthy weight for your frame and height.
Embarking on the wonderful journey of family planning can be both stressful and exciting. Take a list of questions that you may have with you to your preconception visit with your doctor. If your partner or spouse is able to attend, bring them along so that your doctor can get a complete picture of you as a couple. Remember, conception isn’t always easy and it doesn’t always happen in our time frame. Be patient, stay healthy, and keep an honest communication with your doctor about your health as you prepare to create a new life.