When planning for pregnancy there are a few important steps to take before trying to conceive. First, if you are on any form of contraception it is important discontinue at least 1-2 months before you want to start trying. This gives you some time to track your natural cycles and makes predicting ovulation much easier. Most women do not know they are pregnant until they have missed a period. Because of this, it is important to start taking a prenatal vitamin and to get in the habit of taking it daily before you actively start trying. Prenatal vitamins have important ingredients like folic acid and DHA for fetal development.
In addition to starting a prenatal vitamin, some women schedule a preconception visit with their OBGYN to discuss testing options. At Capital Women’s Care, we will run a complete blood count and check your thyroid hormone to make sure both are normal before you become pregnant. We will also check to see if you are immune to varicella (chicken pox) and rubella. These are two vaccines that cannot be given in pregnancy. If we find that you are not immune to either of these during your preconception work up then we will recommend you get these vaccines prior to getting pregnant. If either the varicella or rubella vaccines are needed, it is recommended not to get pregnant for 4 weeks after the vaccine. This is one of the reasons scheduling a preconception visit 3-6 months before you want to actively start trying is helpful to take care of these recommendations before you start trying to conceive.
Aside from the tests listed above, there is genetic carrier testing offered at our office to screen for genetic disorders that you may carry. These are disorders that can potentially be passed to future children. During your preconception visit, the options for testing will be discussed from testing for a few specific disorders based on family history/ethnicity to testing for a large panel of disorders. Depending on your carrier status and the carrier status of your partner it may be recommended to speak with a genetic counselor prior to conceiving to discuss the likelihood of passing the disorder/trait to future children.
Here at Capital Women’s Care, we want to help you have an enjoyable pregnancy journey from planning to prenatal care to delivery!