Deciding to take the plunge into parenthood in itself is a big challenge. But before you do that, pause for a second – or even a month or two. In order to give yourself the best opportunity for a healthy pregnancy and ultimately a healthy baby, here are the top 5 things you need to know and do before trying to hop on the conception train. At North Shore Pro-Active Health we see patients, pre -conception, pre-natal, during pregnancy, post partum and even adjust our smallest patients within 5 minutes of birth! Pre-conception is a very important time as you can change the DNA of your follicles, which leads to the DNA of your fetus!
1. Schedule a Prenatal Checkup
Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor, midwife, ob/gyn, or family practice physician for a preconception health check. At North Shore Pro-Active Health we will thoroughly analyze your personal medical history, family history, any supplements or medications that you are on, etc. We may recommend consulting your prescribing physician if you’re taking certain medications that might affect your pregnancy.
We will also discuss your weight loss regime; pre-pregnancy diet, exercise, and any other unhealthy habits (like alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use). You might be advised to dive deeper into your history with our functional medicine model if you have any health conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, or diabetes. These must be managed before you try to get pregnant. If you have not undergone any health assessment in the last year, your OBGYN may schedule a pelvic exam and a pap smear to identify the presence of any STDs.
2. Consider Genetic Screening
Your doctor should give you genetic carrier screening before you begin conceiving to see if you or your significant other is a carrier for major hereditary diseases such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and many others. If both you and your spouse are carriers, then your baby will have a 1 in 4 chance of getting the disease. Meeting with your genetic counselor will help you learn more about the condition and help you sort out your reproductive choices.
3. Go off The Pill
Although at North Shore Pro-Active Health we recommend natural birth control methods, we recognize that many of our clients are on hormonal birth control. Do stop your birth control a few months before you plan to start trying to get pregnant. This allows you sufficient time to really see what your menstrual cycle is like – 25 days? 30 days? – so you can find out when you are ovulating, the period of the month when you are most fertile. If you don’t menstruate even after three months of pill absence, then you should definitely see your Chiropractor.
4. Get Fit
Getting fit is not the same as ‘losing weight’. Being fit and healthy is an excellent way to prepare for conception and childbirth; a healthy body will be able to handle giving birth and minimize the recovery time. So if you are not much of a fitness freak, now is the best time to start looking into different exercises that will work best for you. If an exercise program is not for you, WALK, WALK, WALK. Get a Fitbit, or a smart watch and be consistent!
5. Start Taking the Required Vitamin Supplements
Because our food sources are depleted of vitamins, supplements should be a part of your daily routine already. When planning to become pregnant you should add methyl folate to your regime. Begin taking this a month before trying to conceive and continue throughout your pregnancy. When consumed correctly, folate might help minimize the risk of spina bifida and other midline deformities in the fetus. Other useful vitamin supplements for moms to be include fish oil, vitamin D3, choline, Iodine, and iron. Our supplement company, Salutogenic Life carries an armory of supplements for women in general, expectant mothers and new mothers who are nursing. You can even find a few that will benefit the little ones including a multi-vitamin, probiotic, fish oil and allergy reliever!
Pregnancy can be an exciting and enjoyable ten months, if you’re prepared for it! If you have questions or concerns please feel free to reach out for a complimentary consultation. If you’re not located in the Chicagoland area please visit the ICPA for a list of pediatric trained chiropractors who can assist with your prenatal and postnatal needs.