This is an important aspect which is usually overlooked by the women of child-bearing age.
It is difficult to implement this because most pregnancies are unplanned and women visit obstetricians, only when they are already pregnant. Another obstacle to pre-conceptual counselling and assessment is that many women, either do not know or do not realize the benefits of visiting an obstetrician before pregnancy. It is recommended for a woman of child-bearing age to visit an obstetrician irrespective of whether she is planning to have a baby or not. Ideally, pre-conceptual care should begin, at least, 3 months before you get pregnant, but some women may need more time.
Discussing your partner’s health; problems in your previous pregnancies, such as miscarriage, preterm labor, or other medical disorders; your previous postpartum issues, such as postpartum wound infection, or psychological issues (postpartum depression, psychosis), is very significant. Let’s suppose, you are not feeling comfortable with your future pregnancy, or you are facing domestic issues such as abuse or violence, please do not hesitate to discuss with your obstetrician, as these factors have adverse effects on your pregnancy.
Pre-conceptual care includes some lifestyle modifications, dietary advice and a few blood tests.
Below is a checklist for ideal pre-conceptual care:
- Visit your doctor several months before you want to conceive.
- You should take a healthy and balanced diet. Reduce the intake of caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Fresh vegetables and fruits are recommended.
- Continue your existing exercise routine.
- You should try to maintain optimum weight because both extremes lead to poor pregnancy outcomes.
- Stress reduction, before and during pregnancy, can make pregnancy easy and enjoyable for you.
- Menstrual Calendar should be maintained. It will help you to calculate the accurate date of delivery.
- Pre-pregnancy folic acid intake will improve pregnancy outcome by minimising the potential complications, for e.g. neural tube defects.
- You should not take over-the-counter medication or any herbal remedy without consulting your doctor.
- If you are suffering from any medical disorder, for e.g, hypertension, diabetes, or epilepsy etc, your medication may need to be altered. Inform your doctor.
- Your vaccination should be up-to-date, especially for Chicken Pox and Rubella.
- If you miss your menses, feel dizzy, or fatigued; it is better to visit a doctor.