You and your partner might have decided that it is time to add a member to your small family. However, besides being emotionally ready, you also need to be physically ready to have a baby, i.e., your body needs to be prepared. Thus, to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy, you must schedule a preconception appointment with your health care consultant.
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Preconception planning is a way to understand whether your body is ready to have a baby and increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy. A preconception appointment is important when you plan to have a baby in your 30s or 40s or are suffering from chronic health conditions. In this blog, we are trying to make it easy for you to understand what actually preconception planning is all about. So, here are some preconception planning questions to understand how you can have a healthy pregnancy.
What type of birth control you have been on?
If you have been on birth control pills, you are not going to experience more than a two-week delay in your periods after you stop consuming the pill. Don’t go on a pill-free break before trying to conceive. Having said that, you can try to have at least one normal period before conceiving as it will help in estimating your ovulation time as well as assist in calculating the due date. You can wait longer to conceive and get your menstrual cycle back to normal by using condoms instead of popping a pill every time you get intimate.
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Are you suffering from chronic medical conditions?
In case you are obese or suffer from a chronic medical condition like asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you need to keep it under control before conceiving. Your health consultant may even suggest you to some other treatments before pregnancy or recommend your special care during pregnancy.
Are you on some medications?
If you are taking some medications or supplements, make sure you let the health care provider know it in the first meeting itself. The consultant may recommend you change in dose or another alternative or to stop taking the product completely before conceiving. Initially, most women do not release that they are pregnant. It is during the first month of pregnancy that the baby's neural tube, which goes on to become the brain and spinal cord develops. Thus, if you start taking prenatal vitamins before conceiving can help in preventing neural tube defects in the baby.
Is there a history of specific medical conditions in the family?
Family medical history on both sides (yours or your partners) may increase the risk of your child having certain medical conditions like birth defects or cystic fibrosis. To tackle such genetic conditions the health care consultant may refer you to a genetic counsellor.
Is there any risk of a sexually transmitted infection?
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis are some sexually transmitted infections that can intervene with your ability to conceive. Also, these diseases pose risks to you and your baby during pregnancy. In case, you have a slightest of doubts of you or your partner is at risk of a sexually transmitted infection, let the health care provider know about it during the preconception consultation. He or she will arrange for a preconception screening and rightly guide you with treatment if the infection is found during the screening.
What is your and your partners’ age?
Increasing maternal age brings with it a host of problems including fertility problems, pregnancy loss, and chromosomal conditions. Also, older mothers are found to be suffering from pregnancy-related complications like gestational diabetes. The health care consultant can guide you with keeping such risks into perception and prepare a plan for you to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Have you been pregnant before?
Let your consultant know if you faced any complication such as high blood pressure, preterm labour, premature birth, gestational diabetes, or birth defects, or delivery via C-section in your previous pregnancies if any. Your health care provider will guide you to overcome such conditions and boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Besides these points, your current lifestyle to plays an important part in preconception planning. So make sure you are not too stressed, you are eating well, and are not into smoking or drinking when planning to conceive. Moreover, you both must attend the preconception visit because the health and lifestyle of both of you will affect the baby.