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Planning to have a baby is more than tossing out the birth control. The efforts put in to preconception planning are repaid a million fold when you have a healthy baby.
To get conception, pregnancy and delivery off to the best possible start it is a good idea to schedule a few doctors’ visits before going full steam ahead.
With an increasing number of couples waiting to have babies until their late 30’s and 40’s genetic counseling is becoming more of a necessity than a novelty. As the female reproductive system ages it loses some degree of vitality. Those jokes about the ominous ticking of a woman’s biological clock continue to have an audience for a reason.
Women over 35 are at 5 times more likely to conceive a child with Down Syndrome than a younger woman does, and this risk factor only increases with every passing year.
Knowing the specific secrets of your genetic and chromosomal coding can help decide the timing of parenthood, as well as prepare parents for any possible outcome.
The other two doctor visits suggested for preconception planning are not nearly as intimidating or scary as visiting a geneticist.
A regular physical exam is beneficial for many reasons. Discovering health concerns prior to pregnancy makes treatment much simpler. Also letting a health care provider know of baby plans can make the actual conception process go faster.
Doctors can suggest supplements, such as omega 3 fish oil pills, which help the body support healthy function in all systems, especially the reproductive ones. An MD will also be able to take look at lifestyle habits and spot any changes that might need to occur before a healthy pregnancy is possible. Prescription medications, for example, might need to be changed to prevent the possibility of damage to the fetus during those first few undetected weeks of gestation.
Doctors can also do blood screenings to test for any nutritional deficits that should be addressed before pregnancy places an even greater demand on mom’s body.
Lastly, including an MD right from the start will help fast track a solution to any fertility difficulties should they arise.
The dentist is not known for topping anyone’s list of favorite places to go, but it is definitely easier to have a cavity filled and x-rays taken without worrying about their possible effects on baby during pregnancy.
Pregnancy itself is hard on teeth. The acidity levels of saliva increase during pregnancy making weaken spots of enamel easy targets for decay. Getting a preconception cleaning will ensure that the teeth are ready to weather the months ahead and come out strong on the other side.
Taking the time during those preconception months to get a clean bill of health will neutralize potential harms and ensure baby has the best possible start in life. If baby booties are in the future, now is the time to get on the phone and schedule a few appointments.
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