Lakeside Women's Hospital

Health Care Designed Exclusively for Women


Making the Decision to Get Pregnant

The decision to get pregnant shouldn't be made lightly. You need to factor in all of the mental, physical and emotional requirements you have and address these first. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Are you ready for a baby?
  • Do you have the insurance you need?
  • Can you afford what your insurance won't cover?
  • Can you fix the difference between the two?
  • Do you know what maternity and paternity benefits you have?
  • What will you need before the baby? (Space, Car, Baby Stuff, etc.)
When planning for a pregnancy it is always a good idea to have a visit with your physician. This consultation is known as a preconception health visit. The point of the visit is to get a picture of your health and to prepare your body for conception. This will help you ensure that you are physically ready for pregnancy and that your baby will be as healthy as possible.

During the visit you will answer a round of health questions. This will be used by your practitioner to help determine if you have any chronic diseases that require regulation before getting pregnant. This is also the perfect time to bring in a list of your medications so that you can get advice on if any medications need to be discontinued or switched before or during pregnancy. This is also a great time to ask about birth control. Many women who are taking birth control pills are unsure about when they need to stop taking the pill in order to conceive.

You will have a physical examination which is likely to include your annual pap smear and a breast exam. Your practitioner will go over what steps you need to take in order to prepare your body for pregnancy.

It is advisable to go for this appointment at least six months prior to wanting to get pregnant. This gives you time to work on any health issues you may have. Though some women choose to go just a menstrual cycle or two before getting pregnant. Your physician can also give you general advice on getting pregnant. This may include figuring out how to tell when you ovulation. Because pinpointing ovulation will help you get pregnant more quickly. They will also give you advice on nutrition, prenatal vitamins and when to seek prenatal care or advice on not getting pregnant as quickly as you would like.

Your baby has the best chance of being healthy when you plan for pregnancy. This means you need to see your physician for a preconception health visit. Here you'll talk about managing any chronic conditions you have like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. What to do with the current medications you take before, during and after pregnancy. You will also discuss how to take prenatal vitamins (including folic acid*) to help aid you in a healthy pregnancy. You should also discuss birth control options and changes you need to make before attempting to get pregnant.

*Folic Acid Can Help Prevent Birth Defects: If you plan to have children some day, here's important information for the future mother-to-be: Think folate now. Folate is a B vitamin found in a variety of foods and added to many vitamin and mineral supplements as folic acid, a synthetic form of folate. Folate is needed both before and in the first weeks of pregnancy and can help reduce the risk of certain serious and common birth defects called neural tube defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord.

The tricky part is that neural tube defects can occur in an embryo before a woman realizes she's pregnant. That's why it's important for all women of childbearing age (15 to 45) to include folate in their diets: If they get pregnant, it reduces the chance of the baby having a birth defect of the brain or spinal cord.

Folate's potential to reduce the risk of neural tube defects is so important that the Food and Drug Administration requires food manufacturers to fortify enriched grain products with folic acid. This will give women one way to get sufficient folate: by eating fortified breads and other grain products, such as enriched pasta, rice, waffles and cereal bars.

Other ways to do this are:
  • Eat fruits, dark-green leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas, and other foods that are natural sources of folate.
  • Eat folic acid-fortified enriched cereal grain products and breakfast cereals.
  • Take a vitamin supplement containing folic acid.
Nutrition information on food and dietary supplement labels can help women determine whether they are getting enough folate, which is 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) a day before pregnancy and 800 micrograms a day during pregnancy.
It is important that you know the basics of conception. This will help increase your chances of pregnancy every month. The key is to find out when you ovulate. You can figure this out by a simple calendar method, ovulation prediction kits or monitors, and other devices to predict ovulation. You will want to have sex near ovulation, since the egg is only viable for about 24 hours. The good news is that sperm lives longer. Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an amazing book to help you with fertility charting and getting pregnant.
Once you start trying to get pregnant, you may be anxious for your period every month. What may surprise you is that it usually takes more than a month of well- timed sex to get pregnant. This does not mean that you are infertile. If you find that your period is delayed or that you are experiencing signs of pregnancy, consider taking a pregnancy test.

Lakeside Women's Hospital is partially owned by physicians. These include: Susan Chambers, Whitney Driver, Valerie Engelbrecht, D. Nelson Fong, Margaret Hall, Laura Mackie,
Jennifer Nelson, Dana Stone, Lisa Wasemiller-Smith, and William Miller.

© Lakeside Women’s Hospital Pencil
A Member of the INTEGRIS Network
11200 N. Portland
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120
Phone: 405-936-1500
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