More than half of pregnancies each year are unplanned. An unplanned pregnancy may leave you and your baby at risk of serious complications. Planning for a healthy pregnancy starts well in advance of becoming pregnant. Let’s outline some of the important things you should discuss with your doctor when you are in the “preconception” phase of this journey.
Begin by establishing care with an appropriate provider, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) or a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). If you do not currently see a women’s health provider annually or if you don’t think you want to continue care with your current provider throughout a pregnancy, then you should start by asking your friends and family who they recommend. Talk with them about their experiences. Your cousin’s perfect doctor may not be perfect for you so try to find out what they liked about them and why they recommended them. This can usually help narrow down your options if you have several doctors in mind. Searching online is also a good first step. Consider what patients say about doctors online in their reviews but always try to remember that there will always be mixed reviews on any physician. One benefit of establishing care with a provider before you become pregnant is that you generally would not have to wait very long for an appointment to begin your prenatal care. Established patients who have a positive pregnancy test at home are generally seen within 2 – 3 days while any new patient may have to wait up to ten days for a longer visit to establish care as a new patient
Once you have chosen a provider, schedule a preconception counseling visit with them to discuss your plans to become pregnant. At this visit they will review your medical history, family history, medications, current medical conditions, as well as other factors that may contribute to a healthy pregnancy. Medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and significant mental health conditions, should be well controlled before you begin trying to conceive. Your medications will be reviewed and sometimes need to be changed based on their safety during pregnancy. Medication adjustments should be coordinated with your prescribing physicians. This process may involve several visits if there are conditions that need treatment or if you are given recommendations that will need follow up. This is also a great visit to arrive with a list of preliminary questions in hand for the provider regarding their practice and their philosophy for prenatal care, labor and delivery and postpartum care. Try not to get too detailed at this visit but some general questions should be welcomed.
Learning to track your cycle, test for ovulation and have intercourse on the correct days can significantly decrease the time it will take for you to become pregnant, in an uncomplicated patient. These are all things you will discuss at your preconception counseling visit. There are many apps for your smartphone that will help you manage this information and bringing reports to your visits will help identify any potential problems. Choose one and start tracking now to become more familiar with your cycle and review the best times for intercourse to improve your chances of becoming pregnant. Glow has several different apps based upon your needs from tracking your cycle, trying to conceive, pregnancy and baby tracker. This app comes highly recommended by many women.
Now that you’ve learned how preconception visits with your provider can benefit you, schedule one today with Comprehensive Women’s Care of Columbus at (706) 341-3311 or request an appointment on our website at www.cwccga.com/appointment