Planning for a great pregnancy
Dr Maria Zweig, MD
The key to a healthy outcome during pregnancy is to plan ahead. There are some very important preparations that need to be taken care off before we get pregnant. It will pay off in the long run by ensuring a healthy pregnancy for mom and baby.
Achieving a normal weight before pregnancy reduces complication.
Being overweight or obese are risk factors for the following during pregnancy:
- Gestational Diabetes
- Cesarean section
- Preeclampsia – high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Trauma to bladder or rectum and birth canal during deliveries – secondary to larger weight babies (macrosomic babies that can weigh over 9lbs)
- Premature birth or prolonged gestations.
- Thrombosis – blood clots in the veins of your legs
- Infection – increase in urinary infections and infections after delivery.
- Birth defects
- Pregnancy loss – miscarriages and stillborn babies.
Being underweight are risk factors for the following:
- Anemia – low blood count –substance that carries oxygen to the tissues in the body.
- Premature and low birth-weight babies.
- Increased risk of miscarriages.
Start an exercise regimen before pregnancy.
BMI, body mass index is a ratio of your weight vs. height. Normal BMI for women is 18.5 to 24.9. Check out where you’re at on the table below, and try to reach a healthy target.
Get routine wellness recommendations taken care of
- Vaccinating a future mother not only protects a future mother but also a newborn baby. If you are going to get pregnant during flue season it is a good idea to get a flu shot. Pregnant woman are part of the high-risk group if you get the flue while pregnant.
- TDap is the tetanus vaccine with whopping cuff, vaccination that should be administered every 10 years in adults. In Puerto Rico there is a call for vaccination do to outbreaks of this preventable respiratory disease.
Get a check up:
- Many woman walk around not knowing they have hypertension and / or diabetes. Both conditions are easily diagnosed in the office or by blood test. High blood sugar before pregnancy increases birth defects and miscarriages. Both condition if not controlled adequately before pregnancy can cause a high-risk pregnancy.
- Routine lab test according to age, risk factors and pre-existing medical diseases’ will be recommended. If you have any medical illness its important to get it under control first, because you minimize flare-ups while pregnant.
- Visit your dentist; take care of any dental work before trying to get pregnant.
Avoid toxic substance
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t drink if you could be pregnant.
- Avoid X-Rays and other nuclear studies.
- Check all medication, over the counter or not, vitamins, and nutritional supplements with your obstetrician.
- Avoid drinking excess caffeine.
- Avoid high mercury fish – tuna and other fatty fish – levels can build up and be harmful to a developing fetus.
Take folic acid at least 400 mcg before getting pregnant. Taking this B vitamin reduces birth defects.
We plan vacations months ahead of time, a baby is a lifetime project we need to plan and optimize our health to ensure a normal and happy experience.