Preconception and Prenatal Check-ups

Your Pre-Pregnancy Check Up: 
Steps to Ensure a Safe Pregnancy & Healthy Fetal Development


Considering having a baby in the not-too-distant future? Already trying to conceive? Then now's the time to starting thinking about pregnancy wellness - and the health of your baby! Healthy babies start before they are conceived, so taking some basic steps now is not only a sound idea, it's a trying-to-conceive imperative!

Yes, quiting smoking and drinking is, of course, the first thing to do. However, changing your diet, exercise, and tyring to get to the proper weight are also cornerstones of pregnancy health - as is taking a prenatal vitamin. Most Ob/Gyns will recommend a good prenatal, one with a solid spectrum of essential ingredients and folic acid. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking prescription drugs, you'll need to talk to your doctor regarding any health issue and to ensure that your prescription drug is safe to take while trying-to-conceive or during pregnancy. Even if you are just taking herbal supplements or general wellness or health purposes, you should clear it with doctor if the particular supplements are pregnancy-friendly. Some herbal ingredients should not be taken during pregnancy. All of these questions can be answered during a "Pre-Pregnancy Checkup" with your doctor.

A healthy diet and proper weight is also central to both fertility and pregnancy health. Being overweight - or underweight - can cause hormonal imbalances that may impact menstrual cycle regularity or interrupt ovulation. Ovulating "on schedule" will certainly help your odds of acheiving pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, time to cut-out the junk food and switch to healthier faire - vegetables, fresh fruit - you know the routine... Besides a prenatal vitamin, consider sources of Omega-3 vitamins, like fish. Make sure the fish you select for a TTC or Pregnancy diet is low in mercury. Some fish, like swordfish and some species of tuna, may have higher amounts of mercury than other fish. By all means, stay away from uncooked meat and fish. You can also consider using Omega-3 supplements (check the bottle make sure that your Omega-3 is mercury/contaminant-free).

Consider a product like Prenatal Omega-3. Omega-3s are nutrients that support both the mother's wellness and promote healthy fetal development. For fetal health, Omega-3 fatty acids are key in developing infant cardiac and circulatory systems, as well as the central nervous system. Omega-3s have also been shown to promote the healthy development of the brain and eyes. For mother's with high Omega 3 intake, research has shown that their babies typical display higher attention spans and advanced brain development.

A Trying-to-Conceive Exam with Your Doctor

A pre-pregnancy check up is always highly advised. As suggested above, discussing personal and family medical history, pre-existing medical issues, prescription drugs use, over-the-counter remedies, and herbal supplements is all very important. Find out if there are any health, diet, or family-medical history issues to consider before you even start trying to have a baby. A history of vaccinations will also be discussed. If you need a vaccination, your doctor may ask you to wait a number of months before actively trying to achieve pregnancy.

Also, prepare notes on your menstrual cycle history and ask your doctor about fertility charting (using a basal thermometer, etc) to determine when you ovulate, the time of month when your fertility is highest. If you've recently discontinuued contraception (e.g., use of the pill), talk to your doctor about how this may affect cycle balance. You may need to wait a few months for your menstrual cycle to get back to "normal".

If you have had children in the past and your are trying for number two, three, or more, make sure you discuss any difficulties or complications associated with past pregnancies. These include issues like PCOS (polycistic ovarian syndrome), cycle irregularity, premature delivery, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy. Age is also a factor, and if you are in your mid-30s or older, its important to take age into account. It may be that conceiving an earlier child took no time at all. Being a little more "mature" may contribute to a bit of delay in conceiving, but is by no means an insurmountable obstacle! Again, a doctor is an excellent resource for conceiving a baby after age 35.

A doctor can also examine and run tests to ensure you have the "green light" for conception and pregnancy. Infections or illness, as well as considerations of familiy medical history, are variables to look at in determining both pregnancy health and risk. Basic testing and blood draws can check for diseases that can cause pregnancy complications or increase pregnancy-fetal risk. Depending on family history or past pregnancy issues, genetic testing may also be advised to decrease pregnancy risks.

Once you become pregnant, your doctor can schedule you for routine visits on the path to motherhood. A very nice tool for both predicting ovulation - and taking you through nine months of pregnancy - is the 9-Months Ovulation and Pregnancy Wheel.

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Comments

Hey i had my period on november 20th and i had sex december 1st-15th i started spotting on jan. 4th and 5th. on feb i also started spotting i have to pee at least 24 times a day i have pelvic,s stomach and uterus pain. AM I PREGNAT!

Hey i had my period on november 20th and i had sex december 1st-15th i started spotting on jan. 4th and 5th. on feb i also started spotting i have to pee at least 24 times a day i have pelvic,s stomach and uterus pain. AM I PREGNAT!

hey ok so i got my period on march 12,2012 ok and when it started it was a little heavier then nomal... i thought maybe im doin something different but i cant remember doin anything ..... but then today march 15, 2012 it is really light.... could i be prengnant.... i took a preg. test tonight and it the results came in really light so should i also get another test? i was premenstrual symptom...... tender breast, irritability headache,backache abdominal cramps and my stomach has gotten just a little bigger..... i feel i should say i was throughing up almost everythin i ate for a good week or so (maybe longer) and now.... I have been sleepy at so many weird hours of the day too... just like ALL day i feel like i havent slept for a good month but not sure..... should i test again?

hey ok so i got my period on march 12,2012 ok and when it started it was a little heavier then nomal... i thought maybe im doin something different but i cant remember doin anything ..... but then today march 15, 2012 it is really light.... could i be prengnant.... i took a preg. test tonight and it the results came in really light so should i also get another test? your help would be very great

My last period was on the 24th of November 2011, i had sex on the 5th and the 8th of December 2011, could i be pregnant ,i am experiencing premenstrual symptom from the 11th of December,tender breast, irritability,backache abdominal cramps, i expect my period the 23rd or 24th ,i really need help please help me,i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My last period was on the 24th of November 2011, i had sex on the 5th and the 8th of December 2011, could i be pregnant ,i am experiencing premenstrual symptom from the 11th of December,tender breast, irritability,backache abdominal cramps, i expect my period the 23rd or 24th ,i really need help please help me,i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello would you help me my last month period was nov 3 &4 but very slow but whole day nov 5 around midnight my lower back was soo pain like your going to labor then after one week I have brown spotting then I am waiting for my next period is nov 30 because I am 28 cycle, I don't know if I am pregnant

I saw my period on the 17th October 2011 and have been having sex with my Husband. Inotice bleeding on the 4th november 2011. My next period will be on the 14th November 2011. What do I do? Or what is happeining? Am I pregnant?

i had my last periof on april 26 . 2011 &&. after that i took an ovilation test which showed that i should havemy next period by may 24 and i havent had it any siqns that i am pregnat ??

my last period was march ist 2011,and i am under doctor supervision regarding the medication to be taken, my ovulation on 13th and 14th of march. when can i go for test? , i am getting head ache and feeling kichkich in my throat. Kindly help me out

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.