Planning for pregnancy can create a whole new level of health concerns and questions. Suddenly you’re not just thinking about your own health, but also that of your future child. This makes talking to your healthcare provider about your concerns at your annual check-up more important than ever.
If you’re trying to conceive, a good first step is to bring up fertility and pregnancy at your annual check-up. If you don’t have an annual check-up coming up, or if you want even more time to talk with a provider about conception, you can always make an appointment for a dedicated preconception check-up, either with your primary care provider or OB-GYN, or a Maven Fertility Awareness Educator, OB-GYN, or other maternal health provider. You can prepare for your visit by writing down all your fertility and pregnancy related questions and worries. “This can be helpful for remembering all the questions you want to ask,” says Maven Nurse Practitioner and Advisor Rebecca Callahan, MSN, WHNP-BC.
If you aren’t sure what to ask, here are some of the most important things to discuss at every preconception visit.
Does my family or medical history put me at risk?
Whether you’re returning to your long-time primary care provider or gynecologist or meeting a specialist for the first time, a preconception visit should include a thorough review of your medical, surgical, and gynecologic history. It can be helpful to talk about your menstrual cycle and your provider should look for anything that might create an issue with getting pregnancy or might affect your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.
This may mean looking at your family history for a pattern of miscarriages, preterm births, or other pregnancy issues, since these conditions can be hereditary. Other preexisting conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can also cause pregnancy complications.
Do I need to make lifestyle changes?
Leading a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward reducing pregnancy risks. At your preconception appointment, ask about diet and exercise before and during pregnancy, including what exercise is safe to do. A healthy lifestyle can help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, which can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, C-sections, and other pregnancy complications.
Do I need any tests or immunizations?
Before you get pregnancy, you should be caught up on your rubella and varicella immunizations. You should also ask about prenatal vitamins, which as important to start while you’re trying to conceive to ensure that your baby gets the benefits as soon as your pregnancy starts.
Should I stop taking my medication?
Ask your health care provider if the medication you use, both prescription and over the counter, is safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can tell you if you’ll need to make any adjustment to take your medications safely once you’re pregnant. If you’re on birth control, you’ll also want to have a conversation with your provider about when you should stop using birth control and how it might affect when you’re able to get pregnant.
Do I need genetic carrier screening?
If you’re concerned about a particular disorder being passed down to your children, talk to your provider about carrier screening. Carrier screening will let you know if you or your partner are asymptomatic carriers of a specific disease. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that everyone who is pregnant or considering pregnancy get carrier screening for spinal muscular atrophy and cystic fibrosis. Tests for other conditions are recommended based on family history.
Remember, asking questions can improve your care and your health. Maven providers are available 24/7 to answer any question you have about your fertility, big or small. Join today for free (yes, really free) and unlimited access to over 35+ types of providers.
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