So you’re ready to start a family. Congratulations, and welcome to one of the most exciting times of your life! There’s so much to look forward to – so much to experience – and you can hardly wait to get started on the road to pregnancy. But is your body as prepared as it should be? Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about getting pregnant in the near future.
Schedule a pre-conception checkup
Pregnancy is a big job for your body. We always advise getting a pre-conception checkup to review important aspects of your health and make sure there are no barriers to a safe and healthy pregnancy ahead of time. Among other things, this is a chance for your doctor to go over your current medications and make sure you aren’t taking anything that could be harmful to a baby – for example, anti-seizure medications or certain anti-hypertensives. Your doctor can also help you with the following important factors:
Check your BMI
Understanding the innumerable health benefits for mom and baby, we work with our patients to manage any weight problems and get their body mass index (BMI) as close to normal as possible. Your BMI is an indication of the amount of body fat based on measurements of your weight and height. For adults, a normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. This not only ensures that your body is in the best shape possible for what’s ahead, but also can help boost your fertility if you were previously underweight and lessen your risk of a premature delivery or stillbirth if you were previously overweight.
Get your blood sugar and blood pressure under control
If you are diabetic or hypertensive, or both, it is very important to work with your doctor to fine-tune your management of these conditions prior to becoming pregnant. Controlling your diabetes can help prevent birth defects, while managing your blood pressure helps ensure that your baby can receive the right amount of oxygen and nutrients – and reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition for mother and baby.
Most importantly, relax! The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll feel going forward. Prepare healthy meals, exercise regularly, and get proper sleep. There’s plenty of time to make important decisions, and no need to rush things. If you’re experiencing unusual anxiety, let your doctor know because usually we can help!
Ashley Hill, MD, is medical director of Loch Haven OB/GYN, an academic practice managed by Florida Hospital Medical Group with offices in Orlando, Oviedo and Winter Garden. For more information or to book an appointment, visit LochHavenOBGYN.com or call (407) 303-1444.