Preconception counseling consists of two major issues.
1. Finding out if there is any associated medical problem, and correcting it.
2. Advice regarding additional nutritional & fitness demands
The goal of this counseling is to provide the information that a woman and her partner need in order to make informed choices about planning a pregnancy and to ensure the best possible outcome for the couple and the baby.
1. Medical assessment:
Your doctor should take your medical history & may also ask about the potential father’s medical history. This checkup may also include an overall physical exam, pelvic exam along with blood and urine tests. Pre-pregnancy visits especially benefit women with certain conditions that can make a pregnancy more difficult like those:
- have heart or kidney disease, high blood pressure or other chronic conditions such as diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS
- have a history of unexplained stillbirths, miscarriage, or have had other children born prematurely
- know you are at personal risk of having a child with birth defects or a genetic disorder
- have or have had a sexually transmitted infection
- have a weight problem
- older than 35
2. General advice
- Folic acid – Is essential for fetal development and lack of it can lead to fetal malformation. Folic acid is naturally available in green vegetables, fortified cereals, Oranges & beans. However it is difficult to get required Folic acid from diet alone, hence a tablet of Folic acid 5mg is recommended at least for 3months prior & 3months during early pregnancy to all expectant mothers.
- Vit B12 – Need to be supplemented specially to completely vegetarian diet and those with deficiency.
- Vit D – Along with Calcium helps to reduce pregnancy complications like Diabetes and Hypertension disorders.
- AVOID – Smoking, alcohol, exposure to radiation, hazardous drugs & chemicals.
- AVOID – self medication or unknown drugs including herbal medicines.
- Always mention to your doctor that you are planning pregnancy. Since conception takes place before you miss a period and before you know that you are pregnant.
- Weight management – Has been a concern to all. Excess weight in women during pregnancy poses lot of health hazards like hypertension, diabetes etc. Underweight women also face problems of poor growth of baby. Therefore it recommended to reach a near ideal weight before planning pregnancy.
- Exercise – Yes. The more fit you are, the easier your pregnancy and delivery may be. But if you exercise too much, it can make getting pregnant harder. And overdoing it once you’re pregnant can be dangerous. If you haven’t been exercising, start before you get pregnant. While you are pregnant, you can probably keep up a light exercise program. Walking every day is good exercise along with gentle stretches keeps you fit & flexible.
We can discuss many more questions on this subject…if you have any.. please ask…
Becoming parent is a major commitment in one’s life. One has to meet challenges as well as receive loads of rewards. All women thinking about getting pregnant want to have the healthiest pregnancy possible along with a healthiest baby. Good health before pregnancy can help you to cope with the stress of pregnancy, labour and birth. Obtaining good health care before pregnancy will help in finding out your risks, treat medical problem if any. So if you are planning to become pregnant, it is a good idea to follow a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to evaluate your health status, so do consult your doctor well in advance.
In this blog, I intend to highlight some of the important issues on this matter:
- Expectant fathers – Please note your health is also important. There are things which can reduce the quantity and quality of the sperms in the semen. Low count can make it difficult to get pregnant and poor quality can produce defective pregnancy. Some habits which are strongly condemned are smoking, tobacco use, steroids, illegal drugs, obesity, heavy alcohol and unhealthy diet/lifestyle. So remember to correct your lifestyle before planning pregnancy for your wife. If there is any genetic problem in the family, the doctor should be consulted.
- Expectant mothers – Your health is of utmost importance. Please remember only a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy child. Pregnancy is a modified physiological process in a women’s life. That means pregnancy is a normal change which involves modification in the mother’s system in order to adapt a growing ‘life’ inside her body. Female body is however unique because it is specially made to adapt to these temporary changes in her whole internal system, provided she is completely healthy to start with prior to pregnancy. Therefore it is of extreme importance that all women should be screened prior to planning pregnancy.
I will be discussing in details about pre-conceptual counseling… read on.
Hello readers! This is my first informative blog article. It was difficult to decide what to write for your inquisitive minds. I thought of writing from the beginning — the “beginning of life” — how a female or male embryo turns into a fetus, to a new born and then to a beautiful human being.
It all starts with a pair of cells, an omnipotent female egg and a trigger male egg. These cells have 22 pairs of chromosomes along with 1 pair of sex chromosome. These sex chromosomes consist of a pair of XX (female) and XY (male). All chromosomes divide into 23 single chromosomes, which pair with the other to form a complete cell. A female egg only has X chromosomes and male sperm can either be X or Y, which decides the sex of the fertilized egg.
All fetuses start out with either an XY or XX set of chromosomes. All fetuses are alike until 6-7 weeks of gestation. In the presence of Y chromosome (i.e. in a male fetus) when the Y chromosome is stimulated, Mullerian ducts are stimulated and testicles begin to develop, elongation of penile tissue commences, and the interior aspects are stimulated to grow. In the absence of Y stimulus, Wolfian ducts are stimulated and female genitalia are developed.
So an early fetus has no intrinsic sex. It has the potential to develop into a male or female depending on what genetic factors it is exposed to.
Isn’t that also true how a child develops other qualities based on the environment?