Preconception care is a must for healthy pregnancy

Tips for pre-pregnancy women

A healthy pregnancy culminating in the birth of a healthy baby is the ultimate desire of any mother. The outcome of any pregnancy is determined long before conception. To optimize pregnancy outcomes it's important to have good health prior to conceiving.

SEE: 10 Things You Must Do For A Healthy Pregnancy.

Achieving good health before pregnancy includes adopting a healthy lifestyle. A healthy eating habit ensures you have adequate nutrients such as folic acid which is important for baby’s good growth. Diet rich in fruits and green vegetables provide high levels of micro-nutrients, hence should be encouraged to be taken by women contemplating getting pregnant. 

Weight reduction for those who are obese is important as obesity is associated with bad pregnancy outcomes. Cessation of smoking and alcohol and other substance abuse is critical as these substances are harmful to the growing baby.

In addition to lifestyle changes its important to have a health check-up from your gynecologist before getting pregnant. This health checkup usually 3 months before conception is called preconception care. The goal of preconception care is to provide the woman with the best chance of a having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Preconception care involves reviewing current and past medical and pregnancy history, physical assessment and laboratory testing to screen and detect any new and preexisting diseases. If you have any chronic disease it's important to inform your doctor. Any new or preexisting diseases must be treated or controlled well before pregnancy.

Education and counseling are important services offered during preconception care. Key topics usually covered include diet, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, smoking and alcohol cessation. Folic acid supplementation is also provided during preconception care.

Chronic medical diseases which may affect pregnancy include diabetes, hypertension,
asthma, heart diseases, obesity, hypothyroidism, sickle cell anemia, HIV, hepatitis Venous thrombosis, kidney disease and epilepsy.

Chronic medical diseases should be put under control before becoming pregnant. In some cases, a change in treatment may be needed because some medications are harmful to the baby.

Preconception care, therefore, is not a luxury but a very key intervention to improve pregnancy outcome. It’s very necessary for every woman regardless of age and number of previous births. If you’re planning to get pregnant it's important you adopt a healthy lifestyle as well as schedule an appointment you’re your gynecologist.
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