A proactive approach to preconception health
Your Women’s Health Texas Austin OBGYN is your partner in planning for preconception health, so that you can maximize your odds for getting pregnant, experiencing a healthy pregnancy and welcoming a healthy baby.
Well before a woman plans to become pregnant, her body is preparing each month to create and sustain a pregnancy. Your menstrual cycle serves as a recurring reminder of a functional reproductive system, and to take care of your preconception health.
Optimizing preconception health
There are steps that you can take, even if you are not trying to get pregnant right now, to optimize your preconception health and fertility.
We provide women with a preconception checklist to help prepare them for pregnancy at least three months prior to conception, and encourage our OBGYN patients to discuss health concerns and preconception health with their OBGYN. Schedule a preconception appointment at our North Austin, Bastrop or Cedar Park office.
Your goal for a healthy baby and our commitment to your total well-being are in sync. Boosting preconception health begins with raising awareness, adjusting your lifestyle and adopting a few new good habits.
Common barriers to pregnancy
According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 9 American babies is born prematurely, before 37 weeks and a complete gestational period. We also want to help you avoid having a low-weight baby, defined as less than 5.5 pounds. Taking proactive steps before you become pregnant can give you the best chance for conceiving and having a full-term baby.
A woman is born with a finite number of eggs. As she ages, the quality and quantity of those eggs diminish. We encourage our OBGYN patients to keep this in mind as they plan for pregnancy. As a general rule, a woman’s fertility declines after her 35th birthday. A man may experience problems with sperm quality after age 40.
Body Mass Index, or BMI
Women with a body mass index that is too high or too low can experience trouble getting pregnant. Fat cells produce estrogen, and too much or too little estrogen can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation. Calculate your BMI.
Hereditary or Chronic Disease
Managing chronic health conditions, such as asthma, eating disorders, diabetes or epilepsy, is always important, but even more so when you are trying to get pregnant. Ask your OBGYN about preconception carrier screening if you have a family history for autosomal recessive disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell or Tay Sachs disease.
Lifestyle and Health Habits
Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of miscarriage and having a low-birth-weight baby. Long-term effects include an elevated risk of SIDS, heart defects, cleft palate and other birth defects.* Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using herbal supplements and prescription drugs, as well as illicit drugs, can all have detrimental effects on your baby. We encourage you to have an open dialogue with your Austin OBGYN. We are here to help.
Protecting yourself from sexually transmitted disease is essential to preconception health. According to the CDC, untreated, about 10%-15% of women with chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
A toxoplasmosis infection can lead to miscarriage, so pregnant women should avoid handling cat or dog feces, gardening in manure or consuming undercooked meat. Of course, if you work in an environment that exposes you to harmful chemicals or toxins, now is the time to consider making adjustments.
One of the most important steps a woman can take prior to getting pregnant is taking 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid each day. A bowl of fortified cereal or multi-vitamin will fulfill your daily requirements. Your OBGYN will prescribe a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to provide added peace of mind.
Your Austin OBGYN will encourage you to take your folic acid, stay current on your vaccines and screening tests, get a Pap smear, and take steps to maintain a healthy weight and diet. Preconception health begins today, and we will support you with patient resources, a checklist, answers and sound advice for protecting your reproductive health.
Contact us for a preconception appointment with a caring and knowledgeable Women’s Health Texas OBGYN in North Austin, Cedar Park or Bastrop. Together, we will make a plan for preconception health and overcoming common barriers to pregnancy.