I think we're ready to start a family! What should I know about health care
before I get pregnant? – Skyler
care should start before a woman gets pregnant. If you're planning a pregnancy,
see your health care provider for a complete checkup. Routine testing can make sure
you're in good health and that you don't have any illnesses or other conditions that
could affect your pregnancy.
If you've been having any unusual symptoms, this is a good time to report them.
If you're already being treated for a
condition — such as diabetes, asthma,
high blood pressure,
a heart problem, allergies, lupus,
or another condition — talk to your doctor about whether it could affect a pregnancy.
You may need to change or stop some medicines — especially during the first trimester
(12 weeks) — to reduce risk to the fetus. Or, you may need to be even more careful
about managing your condition. For example, women with diabetes must take extra care
to keep their blood sugar levels under control — both before they try to conceive
and during pregnancy.
This is also a good time to talk with your health care provider about any habits
that could be a risk to your baby, such as drinking
alcohol or smoking.
Ask about taking a prenatal vitamin that has folic
acid, calcium, and iron. It's especially important for women who plan to become
pregnant to take vitamins with folic acid because neural tube defects (problems with
the development of the spine and nervous system) happen in the first 28 days of pregnancy,
often before a woman even knows she's pregnant.
If you or your partner have a family history of a genetic disorder and think either
of you may be a carrier, genetic
testing may be wise. Talk this over with your health care provider, who can refer
you to a genetic
counselor if necessary.