How To Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy: Preconception Health

preconception health

A woman’s body is a complex and beautiful thing, and conception is one of the many joys of life. Yet, the journey of pregnancy is a significant life-changing decision that involves careful consideration, making preconception health of the utmost importance. 

Preconception Health

Ensuring optimal preconception health is crucial for both partners, as it lays the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy and the well-being of the future child. Here at Island Reproductive Services, we are going to cover some of the key aspects of preconception health and provide practical tips for individuals or couples planning to start a family.

Schedule a Preconception Checkup

Before attempting to conceive, schedule a preconception checkup with your healthcare provider. This visit allows for a comprehensive assessment of your overall health and identification of any potential concerns that may affect pregnancy. Discuss your medical history, current medications, vaccinations, and lifestyle factors with your healthcare professional to receive personalized guidance.

Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for both men and women when it comes to preconception health. Excess weight can contribute to hormonal imbalances and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. On the other hand, being underweight may affect fertility. Strive for a balanced and nutritious diet, coupled with regular exercise, to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before conception.

Folic Acid Supplementation

Folic acid is a crucial nutrient that helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus. Begin taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid at least one month before conception and continue throughout the early stages of pregnancy. This supplementation is particularly important during the first trimester when the neural tube is forming.

Assess And Manage Chronic Conditions

If you have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid disorders, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage these conditions before conceiving. Preconception health may involve stabilizing chronic health issues prior to pregnancy, which can reduce the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby.

Undergo Necessary Screenings and Tests

Ensure that you are up-to-date on necessary screenings and tests. This may include checking for immunity to certain infections, screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and conducting genetic carrier screening if there is a family history of genetic disorders. Early detection and management of any potential concerns can contribute to a smoother pregnancy journey.

Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have adverse effects on fertility and may increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. For good preconception health, it is highly recommended to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake well before conception to create a healthier environment for conception and fetal development.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can impact fertility and contribute to pregnancy complications. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Establishing healthy coping mechanisms before pregnancy can positively influence your ability to manage stress during this transformative period.

Evaluate Medication Use

Review any medications you are currently taking with your healthcare provider. Some medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued before conception to ensure the safety of the developing fetus. Do not stop or alter any medications without consulting your healthcare professional.

Create a Supportive Environment

Building a strong support system is crucial during the preconception period. Discuss your plans with your partner, family, and close friends. Emotional well-being plays a significant role in reproductive health, and having a supportive network can positively impact your overall experience.

Preconception health is a foundational step on the journey to parenthood, ensuring the best possible start for both parents and the future child. Here at Island Reproductive Services, we commonly treat women with abnormal menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and many other disorders. For more information or questions about preconception health, check out our website or give us a call at (718) 948-6100.