There are lots of things to consider before trying to have children. Your weight, diet, medical history, and habits all can have an impact on your ability to get pregnant and once you are pregnant, those thingscan affect your health and the health of your child.
“I think that there’s a new paradigm in medicine and that’s preventative medicine,” Dr. Alan B. Copperman fromReproductive Medicine Associates of New York (RMA) told INSIDER. “Years ago, things used to happen to us and then we would eventually figure it out and then we’d go to a doctor and by the time we started treating it, it was sometimes too late.
“These days using this whole concept of big data and personalized medicine, we can figure out who’s at risk of having bad outcomes and we can intervene before they become a problem. And a perfect example is pregnancy.”
So instead of waiting to figure out these things once you’re already pregnant or actively trying, Dr. Copperman said being proactive is the best thing you can do.
According to Dr. Copperman, focusing on your mental health and wellness, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, taking prenatal vitamins, and taking advantage of genomic medicine can all help prevent infertility and help to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
Read on to see what are some of the things you should consider before trying to get pregnant.
It’s worth noting that the most-importantthing you can do is visit your obstetrician. They’ll help you figure out the specifics of what you and your partner need to do to have a healthy pregnancy.
Taking folic acid even before you try to get pregnant can prevent birth defects
Dr. Copperman said folic acid prevents neural tube defects like spina bifida or anencephaly. Folic acid, a B vitamin, is used by our bodies to make new cells. The CDC recommends women take 400 mcg of folic acid every day, whether they are pregnant or not. But in pregnancy, folic acid is what helps form the neural tube.
Because spina bifida and anencephaly can develop early in pregnancy, before a person may know they’repregnant, it is especially important to be taking folic acid even before you are pregnant.
Smoking can make it harder for you to get pregnant and can cause low birthweight for your baby
Smoking can make it more difficult to get pregnant and can damage the lining in the womb for people with a uterus and for people with a penis, smoking can reduce the quality of their semen.
Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or low-birthweight babies.
Maintaining a healthy body weight can prevent complications such as prematurity or gestational diabetes
“By maintaining a body weight close to the ideal range not too thin, not too heavy we can prevent complications ranging from prematurity on the lower end to gestational diabetes and complications for mom and baby on the higher echelons,” Dr. Copperman said.
Some of those complications can include pre-eclampsia, longer labor, or blood clots.