Having a baby is a wonderful step in life and one of the most rewarding and happy parts of our job as health care providers. We both specialize in family medicine with an emphasis in women’s health, so we care for women throughout their lifetime and can also care for them throughout their pregnancy and child’s birth. As our patients are thinking about becoming pregnant, there are many suggestions we have for them to prepare themselves both physically and mentally for pregnancy.
First and foremost, find a doctor you are comfortable with and who supports you and your decisions. Feel free to schedule pre-conceptual counseling appointments with him or her before even becoming pregnant. This will help set expectations and inform you on additional steps you can take for your health and the health of your baby.
We also suggest reviewing any medications you are on with your primary care provider or your obstetrician. There may be some changes to dosage or medications that can be made in anticipation of pregnancy. It’s also important to have all your immunizations up to date before you get pregnant to protect yourself and your baby.
For your diet and exercise regimen, we suggest working on becoming consistently active so you can maintain this exercise routine throughout pregnancy. You may also want to work on achieving a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. This can be achieved by eating a balanced diet and taking a daily prenatal vitamin and folic acid. The vitamin and supplement are very important to begin at least three months before becoming pregnant to reduce the risk of birth defects.
If you can, limit your caffeine intake as caffeine affects the body’s natural chemistry. You also must stop smoking and stop any alcohol or drug intake.
Taking a few steps to becoming a healthier you will help provide a healthy environment for your baby.=
Kimberly Borchers, MD, and Tara Wadlow, FNP, are members of BJC Medical Group. They practice at Medical Arts Clinic, which is located at 1103 W. Liberty, Farmington, Mo., Suite 2030, and the practice can be reached at 573-756-6751. For more information, please visit bjcmedicalgroup.org/medical-arts-clinic.