Healthy pregnancies begin even before you even plan to become pregnant. Here are some tips for preparing your body for future pregnancies. For a more detailed breakdown, check out our preconception health page.
Take Folic Acid:
Folic acid is a B vitamin needed to generate new cells. To prevent any birth defects in your baby, especially to the brain and spine, it is important to have high levels of folic acid in your system to help new cell generation. Brain and spine development occur very early in pregnancy, within the first 28 days, so maintaining the appropriate levels of folic acid in your system can prevent birth defects even before you are aware of your pregnancy. Women who are able to bear children should take 400-800 micrograms of folic acid each day whether they plan to become pregnant or not. Try to take a multivitamin supplement that includes this daily dose of folic acid as well as calcium, iron, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D.
Keep Vaccines Up-to-Date and Have Regular Health Screenings:
Every woman should have regular screenings, have regular pap smears, and keep their vaccinations up-to-date, and in pregnancy this is especially important, as your health will affect your baby’s health. Some diseases, including STD’s, can be transmitted to the baby during delivery, so screening for them once you find out you are pregnant can help determine whether a cesarean section may be a better delivery option to prevent transmission of any diseases. This may also determine whether your baby should be immunized at birth.
If you are not immune to rubella and chickenpox, which can cause complications during pregnancy, you should be immunized immediately and not attempt to become pregnant until a month after immunization. Make sure you get the flu shot before pregnancy along with vaccinations for Hepatitis B if you haven’t already.
Manage Health Concerns:
Before pregnancy, it is important to manage health problems like epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, obesity, depression, eating disorders, and asthma. You should always be finding ways to achieve better health like staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and making smarter food choices. If there are any specific pregnancy risks that run in your family, please discuss them with Dr. Ayalon. It is important that you can openly communicate with your doctor about any other health concerns you may have.
For more info on preconception health, call us at 818.654.9312.