Having a healthy road to pregnancy

December 17, 2014

If you’ve been thinking about getting pregnant, here are some steps to take before your pregnancy to ensure a healthy and successful journey to becoming a mom.

  1. Start taking prenatal vitamins at least a month before conceiving. The folic acid in these vitamins (usually between 400 and 800 micrograms) will help decrease risk of a neural tube defect, like spina bifida. The spinal cord forms and closes by four weeks gestation, before many women even know that they are pregnant, so it’s important to get on this early.

  2. Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight decreases your risk of complications of pregnancy like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Good control of chronic medical problems will also help a future pregnancy go much more smoothly.

  3. Consider seeing your doctor before trying to get pregnant. He or she will make sure that your vaccinations are up to date (many you can’t get while pregnant) and might discuss screening for genetic disease based on you and your family’s history.

  4. Most women with regular periods (bleeding every 27-35 days), will ovulate between days 10-14 of their cycle. Day 1 is considered your first day of normal flow of your period. You can buy ovulation predictor kits over-the-counter that will help you predict exactly when you will ovulate. Having sex on that day as well as just before and for a few days after can increase your chances for pregnancy.

  5. Contrary to popular belief, a healthy couple has only a 20% chance of achieving pregnancy each month that they are having unprotected sex. However, most (80-90%) healthy couples will achieve pregnancy within a year. If you aren’t pregnant after 12 months of trying, you should see your doctor for a check-up. Women over 35 should check in with their doctor after 6 months. An initial infertility work-up will include a medical history, physical exam, some blood tests, and a semen analysis for your partner. Depending on your specific situation, your doctor may order an ultrasound or an x-ray to make sure the fallopian tubes are open.

Even if you don’t get pregnant within the first year of trying, don’t give up hope! There are lots of options for treatment of infertility, and many of them aren’t nearly as expensive as in vitro fertilization. If you’d like to learn more, consider making an appointment with any of our providers. We also have plenty of pregnancy resources to help you on this journey.