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Good prenatal care and preventative medicine begins before trying to get pregnant. The first "preconception counseling" appointment should occur 4 months or so before attempting to conceive. Patients considering pregnancy should be on a vitamin (either a multivitamin or a specific prenatal vitamin) with 0.4 mg (400 µg) of folic acid beginning at least 3 months before pregnancy. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects. The spinal cord is already starting to develop by 1 month after conception. By the time many women realize they are pregnant, it is often too late to prevent neural tube defects. More specific information can be found through the March of Dimes.

Equally as important, this consultation is a chance to discuss problems in previous pregnancies, social issues, environmental exposures, and general health. If not recently done, we will check a blood count to screen for anemia, a rubella titer to check for immunity to rubella, your blood type, as well as other recommended, routine prenatal tests. We will review your ethnic and family background to determine if other tests should be recommended to screen for genetic or medical disorders which are more prevalent based on your history. Some of these disorders may include sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and Tay Sachs to name a few. Appropriate counseling will be provided for all results of this testing. If necessary, we will arrange for you to consult with a high risk obstetrician prior to undergoing treatment. Basic Recommendations Prior to Pregnancy:

  • Eliminate if possible the intake of alcohol
  • Limit intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda to a safe amount for pregnancy
  • Avoid use of recreational drugs such as marijuana
  • Avoid the use of prescribed and over-the-counter medications that may be harmful to a developing pregnancy
  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides
  • Maintain good personal hygiene and health practices.
  • Attempt to maintain a body weight ideal for your height and body frame