What are the different factors that may affect my pregnancy, childbirth and my baby’s health?
1. Your Diet and Nutritional Needs
There is no denying that the human body needs a constant supply of nutrients and minerals to support our everyday activities and to repair damaged tissues.
Our diet plays a significant role in determining our over-all health. As what an old saying says, we are what we eat—yes, we can get energy from supplements and vitamins, but our body’s well-being is primarily determined by the food we eat. To carry a child in your womb means that the nutrients that the fetus will need will come from you. The state of your health and diet will be a great factor to ensure the proper nutrition the baby will receive.
During pre-pregnancy check-up, your doctor will discuss with you on the proper diet and nutritional needs to keep you and your future baby healthy and well-nourished.
To make sure you maintain a healthy diet, your doctor can help you make healthy food selections as well as recommend food-planning and supplements guide you can follow throughout the pregnancy period. The importance of pre-pregnancy check-up comes into play when proper vitamins and supplements to take are involved.
The following vitamins and supplements are usually taken by women before and during pregnancy:
Prenatal vitamin supplements (contains all the daily vitamins and minerals you need)
Folic acid supplements (helps prevent neural tube defects)
Iron (aids in production of blood required to supply oxygen to the baby in the womb)
Being overweight may lead to several problems which may affect your pregnancy and childbirth while obesity can even be associated with potential complications such as:
High blood pressure
Being underweight, on the other hand, is also not good for pregnancy as it may increase the risks of preterm birth and low-birth weight baby that will greatly affect the over-all (physical, mental and behavioral) health of the child and may be carried up until adulthood.
During pre-pregnancy check-up, your doctor may give advice on the best ways to lose or improve your weight which includes exercise routines and diet plans.
Keeping a healthy lifestyle is key to ensure your baby’s well-being. Certain lifestyles can be harmful to the developing fetus in the womb especially during the early stages of pregnancy. Habits that can be very detrimental to the baby’s health include:
Use of illegal drugs
Excessive caffeine intake
It is important to inform your Doctor about the lifestyle you have So he/she can help you stop these Unhealthy habits to prevent Complications during pregnancy And lower the risk of birth defects.
You should inform your doctor if you are currently having or have any of the following in the past:
Chronic conditions (eg Hypertension, diabetes)
Serious medical problems
Mental health issues
Recent or past exposure to Infectious diseases
Previous surgery or hospitalisation
As any medical problems may affect your pregnancy and baby’s health, they should be addressed (and treated if possible) before conception and should be monitored during pregnancy. With proper care and precautions, getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery is possible even when experiencing chronic medical conditions.
Before going to your doctor for pre-pregnancy check-up, make a list of the different medical issues that exists in your family. These medical conditions may include
chronic diseases eg diabetes
serious conditions such as cancer
This medical list will be very helpful for you and your doctor to uncover any risks that will affect your pregnancy and possible medical conditions that can be passed on to your child.
Of course, as much as your family history is important, your partner’s family history will also matter, so better make the list together.
6. Your Past Pregnancies and Reproductive History
If you have been pregnant before, do you still need to have pre-pregnancy check-up before trying for a new child?
Yes, because every pregnancy is unique. Even if you have been pregnant before, it is always better to have yourself checked before trying for a new baby.
To make a proper assessment, your doctor may ask you details about your previous pregnancy such as: the type of delivery you had (vaginal, assisted vaginal or C-section)
the complications you may have encountered before, during and after delivery
the postpartum effects on your mental (i.e., depression) and physical (i.e., hemorrhage) health
It is also important to let your doctor know if you have any history of the following so he can take the necessary measures to lower the risk of complications during your pregnancy:
In addition, reproductive information such as menstrual history, menstrual cycles, the type of birth control being used, and fertility issues should be discussed with your doctor to help you plan and prepare for the best time to try to conceive.
7. Current Medications You Are Taking.
Inform your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter medications or even herbal medicines and supplements you are currently taking or have recently taken. Some medications may cause birth defects and complications, so it is better to prevent them early on.
Also, it can be very helpful if you can provide your vaccination history to your doctor. Before you try to conceive, it is advisable that you have completed your vaccinations for
measles and other required immunizations.
If you have not completed your vaccinations, your doctor may require you to get immunized and may delay the conception.
8. Your Home and Work Environments
If you are planning to conceive, consider the type of environment you have at home and at your workplace.
There are certain chemicals and toxic substances (and even radiation) that can be very harmful to the developing fetus. Make sure you are well-protected and unexposed to these harmful chemicals.