Planning for pregnancy: Have you started your preconception care?

Planning for pregnancy: Have you started your preconception care?

Preconception care in our country is mostly associated with mental preparedness of a couple. But it’s way more than that. A couple needs to be ready overall to boost the chances of a healthy pregnancy. It’s essential that a couple should opt for preconception care immediately when they start planning for conceiving. It’s imperative to have a preconception appointment with your gynecologist when you’re in the age-group of 30s and 40s or you have some chronic illness.

Here are some of the steps you should need to discuss before planning the pregnancy:

Type of birth control pill one is using

Your doctor might ask the couple whether they are using any birth control pills. If a woman is taking a combination birth control, she shouldn’t have to take a break from the pills before the conceiving process. However, if the woman is popping long-term birth control pills, her fertility process might take time to come back. But the experts have seen that women, who took long-term birth control pills, conceived within three months after stopping the pills.

An updated vaccination cards

Chickenpox and rubella infections could be critical for an unborn child, therefore it’s essential that the couple have got their shots before they are planning the pregnancy. Their doctor might ask them to get immune to certain infections first. Vaccination is one of the prime preconception cares. Even when it comes to getting the COVID vaccination, one should discuss with the doctor beforehand.

Controlled co-morbidities

If any of the partners has non-communicable diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cardiac issues, one should make sure that it’s controlled before planning to conceive. Sometimes your healthcare provider might ask you to adjust your medications and other treatment before your pregnancy. The healthcare provider will also explain certain special care during the pregnancy process.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted diseases gonorrhea, syphilis and Chlamydia can act as a hindrance in conceiving. If it gets untreated for a longer period of time, it can pose serious health risks to the mother and the child during pregnancy. The couple should discuss this with the healthcare provider during their preconception care consultation so that the doctor can get the preconception screening done and start the treatment as soon as possible.

Your current lifestyle   

Healthy lifestyle is the key to a safe pregnancy. Your healthcare provider might ask you to make certain modifications in your lifestyle that includes:

  • No to alcohol and illicit drugs
  • Complete ban on smoking for both the partners
  • Addressing your underweight or overweight issues
  • Importance of healthy diet, regular exercise and managing stress
  • Be careful about your exposure to pesticides, mercury or lead in your day-to-day life

Your pregnancy history

When your healthcare provider asks about your previous pregnancies, then do mention about any complications if you had during your previous pregnancy. If you had high blood pressure, diabetes or preterm labor that resulted in c-sec, then you should discuss the complete scenario with the healthcare provider. You can also discuss any fear or concerns about the pregnancy. Discussing your inner fears and health conditions helps the healthcare provider to chalk out a health pregnancy plan for you.

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Dr Manisha Ranjan

Consultant – Obstetric and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida
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