DPH: What to Know Before You Consider a Pregnancy

 

Planning to Have a Baby?

What to Know Before You Consider a Pregnancy 
   
{Photo 1}
 
 
What is preconception health?
Preconception health refers to the health of a baby’s mother and father before the woman gets pregnant. It is important for both men and women to be healthy before having a baby.

Improving one’s health before becoming pregnant improves the health outcomes for both mom and baby.

 

Why does preconception health care matter?
Preconception health care can identify risks to the woman’s health that could affect her or the baby. Some risks can be reduced or changed.
 
- Eating healthy foods, exercising, avoiding alcohol, smoking and street drugs will help your body be healthy and ready for pregnancy.
- If you have a medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, a sexually transmitted disease or a genetic disorder it will be important for you to see a healthcare provider for treatment, control and monitoring before you get pregnant.

 

What does every woman need to know?

Eat healthy foods and take Folic acid before you get pregnant:

{Photo 2} - Remember to eat a variety of foods like fruit and vegetables.
- Limit the amount of foods with alot of sugar or fat in them.
- Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, or as directed by your healthcare provider. Folic Acid is important for making new cells in the body. Folic acid is also helpful in preventing birth defects of the spine and brain in newborns.
- Avoid eating certain types of fish, some can contain mercury, which can lead to birth defects.
- Being overweight when you become pregnant can lead to problems in the pregnancy.
 
 
{Photo 3}
 Exercise:  
- Exercise every day for 30 minutes.
- Walking is a great way to start if you are new to exercising.
 
Alcohol:
- Do not drink alcohol.
- No amount of alcohol is safe when you are pregnant.
- Alcohol can cause you to be unhealthy and lead to problems in a pregnancy.
- If you want to stop drinking alcohol and need help, talk to your healthcare provider.
 

 Smoking:

- Quit smoking before you are pregnant.
- Smoking cigarettes is unhealthy for you and can lead to problems in a pregnancy.
- If you want to quit smoking and are having trouble stopping, talk to your healthcare provider.

 

Drugs:

- At no time is it ever safe to use illicit, “street drugs”.
- If you are using and want to stop and need help, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Discuss all prescription and over-the-counter medications with your healthcare provider before you get pregnant.
 
{Photo 4}
 
 
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs):
- Most common being Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV.
- If you know you or your partner have a STD, it will be important to share this with your healthcare provider before you get pregnant.
- STDs can lead to problems in a pregnancy.
- If you are not sure if you or your partner have a STD, you should both be tested.
 

 Environmental Factors:

{Photo 5} - There are toxic, meaning poisonous things around us every day.

- Being aware of what they are and then avoiding them if possible is important.
- Some common toxins that you may have heard of are: bug spray, tobacco smoke, some paints and glues.
- It is important to be aware of the potential toxins around you and avoid them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress: {Photo 6}

- Stress is a part of everyday life.  
- Too much stress can have bad health effects on the body.
- Planning to have a baby can cause stress.
- Know what your stressors are and then develop coping strategies to lessen your feelings of stress. 

 

 

Vaccinations:

Are you up to date?

- Talk to your doctor about your vaccination history.
- If you have not been vaccinated against certain diseases your doctor may recommend you receive the vaccination before you become pregnant.
 
  {Photo 7}
     

 

Medical Conditions:

Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Seizure Disorders, Depression, Hypothyroidism and Infections.

- Sometimes the medications you may take to control your disease or illness are called teratogens, meaning they can harm a developing baby.
- Talk to your doctor if you plan to become pregnant and have anyone of these underlying medical conditions that you may take medications for.
- Your physician can work closely with you and decide what medications will work best for you when you decide to become pregnant.

 

 

Family History of Birth Defects and Genetic Disorders: {Photo 9}

- If you or any one in your family has a known birth defect or genetic disorder, meaning something that you or your family member have in their genes that can be passed on to a baby, your baby may be at risk too.
- It is important to talk to your doctor about you and your partner’s health history.
- Often carriers of certain disease are unaware they have the disease, particularly those with sickle cell disease or thalassemia.
- It is important if you are high risk for these diseases (African descent, Middle Eastern descent) that you and your partner are screened prior to conception.
- If you are at high risk of having a child with a birth defect or have a genetic disorder you and your partner may benefit from genetic counseling , where a trained professional can explain in a way you understand what the risks to you and your unborn baby are.

 

 

 

 

 

What does every man need to know?

Healthy eating:
- Remember to eat a variety of foods, with lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Limit the amount of foods with a lot of sugar or fat in them. {Photo 10}
- Support your partner, eat healthy together.
 
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs):
- Get tested and treated for STDs.
- Protect yourself and your partner from STDs.

 

Alcohol:

- Avoid alcohol

 

Smoking:

- Quit smoking now.
- Second hand smoke is harmful.

 

Illegal Drugs:

- Stop using now.
 

Environmental Factors:

- There are toxic, meaning poisonous things around us every day.
- Being aware of what they are and then avoiding them if possible is important.
- Some common toxins that you may have heard of are: bug spray, tobacco smoke, some paints and glues.
- It is important to be aware of the potential toxins around you and avoid them.

 

Family History of Birth Defects and Genetic Disorders:

- Learn your family history and share with your partner and doctor.
- Certain diseases and birth defects that are in your family may require you to have genetic counseling where a trained health professional can explain to you in a way you understand what your risks may be.
 
 
References
  1. Freda, M., Moos, M., & Curtis, M. (2006). The History of Preconception Care: Evolving Guidelines and Standards. Maternal Child Health J, 10, S43-S52. 
  2. Mitchell, E., & Verbiest, S. (2013). Effective Strategies for Promoting Preconception Health-From Research to Practice. American Journal of Health Promotion, 27, S1-S3.
 
 
Resources & Links 
 




Content Last Modified on 3/20/2015 10:35:53 AM