Good Health Before Pregnancy

Waukesha obstetricians at Women's Healthcare on the importance of good health during pregnancyAlthough planning your pregnancy can benefit you and your baby, many women do not know they are pregnant until several weeks into their pregnancy. During the first 8 weeks, the baby’s major organ systems have begun to form. Your health can affect your baby’s growth and development.

A healthy diet is very important during pregnancy. It is also a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy. Most of your nutrients come from the foods you eat, but a vitamin ensures you are getting all the recommended minerals and nutrients. The most important vitamin needed before and during pregnancy is folic acid which helps prevent certain birth defects.

You should also try to reach a healthy weight prior to pregnancy as being overweight or underweight can increase the risk for various complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Exercise is important at every time of your life, including pregnancy. You can continue the exercise routine your body is used to while paying close attention to your body. Your exercise capacity may not be as high during pregnancy as it was before you were pregnant. If you are not used to exercise, discuss the safety and schedule with your Women’s Health Care provider.

Substance abuse including smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use is one of the leading causes of complications during pregnancy. All of these substances can have harmful effects on your health as well as the health of the baby. Your partner should also be encouraged to stop using these substances.

Pregnancy Affected by Medical Conditions

Woman doing yoga on the beach

Certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or seizure disorders, can cause problems in pregnancy. It can be helpful to bring these chronic conditions under good control before trying to get pregnant. Some medications, herbal remedies and supplements can be harmful to a developing fetus so it is important to inform your provider of all medications you are taking. Sometimes medications are switched and sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks of continuing the medication.

Certain infections can cause harm to the mother and the fetus. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can affect your ability to become pregnant and can infect and harm your baby. We do routinely test for these at your initial prenatal visit but if you think you or your partner may have an STD, it is important to get tested and treated as soon as possible.

Family health history can help us identify whether your baby is at any increased risk for certain genetic or inherited disorders. If there appears to be any significant family history, a genetic counselor can help you better understand your chances of having a baby with a genetic disorder.

Making sure you are up to date with all your immunizations is important before getting pregnant. Live vaccines including the live influenza vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and varicella vaccine should be given at least one month before pregnancy. Inactivated vaccines including Hepatitis A, B, influenza vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) are safe during pregnancy.

Contact Waukesha Obstetricians at Women's Health Care Today for preconception health and planning tips