Prior To Conception

Prior To Conception

Prior To Conception
Before planning to have a baby, visit your doctor to check for risk factors that may cause complications with our pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins should be taken before you start trying to get pregnant so that your body is ready to support another life. Some medical and dental procedures cannot be done while pregnant so you can discuss with your doctor what steps need to be taken to address those issues before becoming pregnant.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Remember that 50 percent of pregnancies are not planned, so it is important to take a healthy approach to pre-pregnancy planning. So if you're a woman of childbearing age and not using birth control, you should follow these steps to better your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
    1. Stop smoking
    2. Stop drinking alcohol
    3. Stop using recreational drugs
    4. Avoid second-hand smoke
    5. Begin to floss every day if you do not already
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    A OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of
    While you can usually enjoy intercourse all the way up until your due date, some positions are more comfort¬able than others. You may have to give up your favorite position, or modify it a bit to make it comfortable. Be creative! It’s part of what makes sex fun during pregnancy and beyond. In general, any position that puts pressure on the woman’s back or stomach can be tough: Not only can her baby bump get in the way, but after the fourth month, lying on her back can cause her growing uterus to put pressure on major blood vessels in her body. Instead try these positions and experiment to see what feels right for both of you:

    • Woman on top In this position, the man lies on his back while the woman straddles him. It takes the pressure off her back and belly, allows her to control the depth and speed of thrusting -- and gives him a great view! This position is great in the first and second trimesters. Increased weight and size of ab¬domen may make it difficult to maneuver in the last trimester.
    • Sitting A variation on woman on top, this position involves the man sitting in an armless chair, with the woman facing and straddling him. It is extremely intimate and allows you to gaze in each other’s eyes. This position is best during the first and second trimester.
    • Side by side You both lie on your side, facing each other. This position also keeps the weight off her belly, supports the uterus, and may also make you feel particularly intimate. Enjoy it during the first trimester and early second trimester.
    • Spooning The same position that allows for such good post-sex cuddle is also great for intercourse during pregnancy. The man lies on his side behind the woman, facing her back. This takes the pressure off her belly and prevents deep penetration, which may be uncomfortable later in pregnancy. This posi¬tion is perfect during the last trimester.
    • Hand and knees Also known as rear entry or “doggy style,” this position places the woman on her hands andin knees with her partner entering her from behind. Place a few pillows under her belly and breasts to help support them. Try it during the first, second, and early third trimesters. Because this position can result in deeper penetration, you may want to avoid it later in the third trimester.
    • Modified missionary position She lies on her back, pulls her knees up to her chest, and rests her feet on his chest or, if she’s really flexible, on his shoulders. He kneels and enters without placing his weight on her body.
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    Having another baby might be the last thing on your mind right now. But getting pregnant too soon after giving birth can be risky. One recent large study found that becoming pregnant less than six months after giving birth increased the risk of preterm birth by 41 percent. And becoming pregnant 6 to 12 months after giving birth increased the risk of preterm birth by 14 percent. The study also found that getting pregnant between 12 and 18 months after giving birth posed no significant increase risk of preterm birth. A separate study had similar results, and also found that babies born to mothers who waited more than 59 months to become pregnant again had a 20 percent to 43 percent increased risk of health problems.

    The take-home message is that planning your next pregnancy if you want more children or preventing a pregnancy if you don't is important. Spacing pregnancies at least 12 months apart will give your body time to fully recover. In the meantime, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you decide if and when to have another baby. Talk to your doctor about your birth control options. Keep in mind that breastfeeding alone isn't a foolproof way to prevent pregnancy, and some birth control methods should not be used by breastfeeding mothers.

    This information is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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    If you are not pregnant yet, you can help your chances for having a healthy baby by planning ahead. Schedule a pre-pregnancy checkup. At this visit, you can talk to your doctor about the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you use. It is very important that you keep treating your health problems while you are pregnant. Your doctor can tell you if you need to switch your medicine. Ask about vitamins for women who are trying to get pregnant. All women who can get pregnant should take a daily vitamin with folic acid (a B vitamin) to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. You should begin taking these vitamins before you become pregnant or if you could become pregnant. It is also a good idea to discuss caffeine, alcohol, and smoking with your doctor at this time.

    This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.
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    A , OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered

    When conception doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like, things can get pretty stressful, pretty fast. You start focusing solely on reproduction and may lose sight of your relationship as a couple. That’s normal.

     

    If you’ve been trying to conceive for a year or more, though, you’ll find yourself dealing with even more obstacles to a healthy sex life. Not only has the pressure to get pregnant skyrocketed, but the fertil­ity treatments you pursue can add a new wrinkle to an already difficult situation. Side effects like mood swings, bloating, and headaches can make women feel anything but in the mood.

     

     

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    A , Reproductive Endocrinology, answered

    A number of studies have confirmed a significantly improved pregnancy rate with injectable medications that stimulate "superovulation." This improvement in pregnancy rate is primarily a result of the increased number of eggs produced. "Fertility drugs," including Gonal-F and Follistim, are administered beginning on the second or third cycle day and are given for six to nine consecutive days. Response to these drugs is monitored by frequent vaginal ultrasounds and blood estrogen determinations. At a time in the cycle when the ovarian follicles reach a designated size and estrogen levels are appropriate, an injection of the hormone HCG is given to trigger ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs 36-48 hours after the HCG injection. Thus, intercourse or insemination should be timed accordingly.

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    A , Women's Health, answered
    Prenatal Screening tests look at both the baby's and the mother's health. Tests that screen for genetic disorders with the baby include sequential maternal serum screening, sometimes called triple-marker or quad-marker. These are done in the early second trimester then repeated later in the second trimester to increase accuracy. Another screening test for the baby is the newer non-invasive cell-free DNA testing done on the mother's blood anytime after 10 weeks of gestation. The baby is also screened for anatomic malformations with ultrasound between 18-20 weeks gestation.

    Screening tests for mother's health, that can affect the health of the baby, include a loading dose of glucose to test for diabetes, done in the second trimester, and a culture for group B strep bacteria done around week 36.
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    The largest study to date of pregnant women with multiple sclerosis (MS) or epilepsy shows that women with the disorders face only a slightly elevated risk of abnormal fetal growth rate and cesarean section delivery, and are not more likely to have blood pressure problems or deliver prematurely. The study appeared in a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

    After factoring for maternal age, race and ethnicity, the researchers found that MS and epilepsy were associated with mildly increased rates of c-section delivery (42.4 percent for women with MS and 44.5 percent for those with epilepsy, compared with 32.8 percent for healthy women) and abnormal fetal growth rate (2.7 percent for those with MS and 3.8 percent for those with epilepsy, compared with 1.9 percent for healthy women).
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    In most situations two people achieve pregnancy, and both should optimize their health prior to attempting conception. Many studies indicate that the following advice will improve a couple's chance of conceiving:

    1) The greatest chance of conception follows intercourse during the fertile time of a woman's cycle. For most women the fertile time typically includes the day of ovulation and a few days preceding ovulation. This portion of the cycle can be prospectively identified at home using urine LH testing. Urine LH test kits, also called "ovulation predictor kits" are available over-the-counter in pharmacies. Urine LH increases one to two days before ovulation.

    2) Women and men attempting conception should try to get their body mass index (a measure of height and weight) into the healthy range, typically regarded as 20 to 25 kg/m2. For men and women, being too thin or too heavy reduces the chance of conception.

    3) Women and men should stop smoking prior to attempting conception. Cigarette smoke contains toxins that interfere with the development of the egg, sperm, and the process of conception.

    4) Women should reduce their caffeine intake to no more than two cups of coffee daily, or no more than 250 mg of caffeine daily. Caffeine intake greater than five cups daily can increase the risk of miscarriage.

    5) Women with depression or significant anxiety may want to address these symptoms before attempting conception. Studies suggest that optimal mental health improves fertility.

    6) Women should reduce their alcohol intake to no more than four standardized drinks per week (a standardized drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of spirits).

    7) Women planning conception should start taking folic acid, approximately 800 micrograms daily. This reduces the risk of a specific birth defect of the nervous system -- neural tube defect.
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    A OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of
    How can I increase my chances of getting pregnant?
    Your overall health and age factor into your ability to get pregnant. Watch OBGYN Monica Diaz, MD, of Medical City Dallas Hospital, describe the three most important things you can do to help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
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