Preconception Care

By Dr. DiSarro

Are you considering pregnancy now or in the future?  If you’ve contemplated an answer to this question, then you’ve already completed the first step in preconception care. The CDC defines preconception care as “a set of interventions aimed at identifying and modifying biomedical, behavioral, and social risks to a woman‘s health or pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.”

Preconception care planning begins with a visit to your OB/GYN. A woman’s reproductive years span nearly 3 decades, and deciding whether or not to become pregnant may change over that time.  More than one-half of pregnancies are unplanned, so it is important that desire for pregnancy first be addressed. Various contraception options are available and deciding which is best for you can be discussed.   If you are trying or not actively preventing pregnancy, it is recommend you take a prenatal vitamin and folic acid prior to conception. Common topics discussed at preconception visits include updating appropriate immunizations, screening and treatment of infectious diseases, and healthy body weight. Woman who are overweight (BMI >25-30) or obese (BMI >30) are at increased risk for miscarriage, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, birth defects, high blood pressure so appropriate weight management goals should be implemented. A thorough review of your medical history and medications is also discussed during the visit. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or seizure disorders can affect pregnancy outcomes, so it is important to have them well-controlled. Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, depression/anxiety  and epilepsy are associated with birth defects and should be reviewed with your physician prior to pregnancy so that changes can be made. Other topics addressed include screening and treatment of tobacco or substance abuse.  Smoking is a modifiable cause of poor pregnancy outcomes. Tobacco use in pregnancy places the baby at risk for low birth weight, preterm labor, stillbirth, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), future childhood obesity. If you smoke and are ready to quit, there are various treatments and techniques  for successful smoking cessation.

The primary goal of preconception care is to ensure that the woman is as healthy as possible to promote both her health and the health of her future children. If you would like to learn more or discuss preconception care, schedule an appointment today.

 

 

Author
Renee

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