Q: Do I need to see my doctor when planning a pregnancy?
A: It is really important that you see your doctor PRIOR to becoming pregnant, because there are quite a few things that you and your doctor can do to make sure that you stay healthy during your pregnancy.
- To start taking folic acid at least few months in advance, this is important for the development of the baby's brain and the spinal cord.
- To identify which foods are best and which foods you should avoid, especially in the first trimester when the baby's organs are developing.
- To discuss any medicines or herbs you take and learn if you need to make any changes.
- To quit smoking, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.
- To discuss whether you may be exposed to any harmful substances in your home or work.
- To make sure that you are up-to-date on your vaccines.
- To reach a healthy weight prior to conception.
- To address mental health and social issues, if needed.
- To understand the risks to you and your baby if:
- You have any undiagnosed, untreated or poorly controlled medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure etc.
- There are diseases that run in your family or your partner's family.
The list of issues to consider when planning a pregnancy continues to grow with advancing medical care. This is why it's important to have your pre-pregnancy check-up with your doctor.
Anandhi Nadarajah, MD, is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Newton Medical Center.