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Preparing for Pregnancy

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Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from MarinHealth Medical Center in Greenbrae.

Whether you’re planning your first baby or your third, there’s a lot to think about. Is the timing right? How will your job be affected? Are you financially ready?

Once you resolve those big-picture issues, it’s a good idea to schedule a pre-pregnancy appointment with a midwife or OB/GYN. You may need advice on transitioning off of birth control. You’ll also want to review your current medications and make sure your vaccinations are up to date.

Share your concerns regarding fertility, medical issues, or family health history with your doctor. From there, depending on your situation, you may be referred to a fertility specialist, endocrinologist, or other specialist. Your provider may recommend that you meet with a genetic counselor before proceeding if you or your partner have a family history of a particular genetic disorder.  

If you have a preexisting condition such as endometriosis, diabetes, or lupus, your pregnancy may require additional monitoring. Thanks to MarinHealth®’s relationship with UCSF Health, you can receive specialized care right here in Marin. That includes state-of-the-art ultrasound examinations, consultations, prematurity prevention efforts, management of unexpected pregnancy complications, and oversight by UCSF Health maternal-fetal medicine specialists.

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Get Your Body in Gear!

A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy body. Here are some lifestyle adjustments to get your body baby-ready:

  • If you don’t already have a workout routine, this is a good time to start. Get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Choose something you are more likely to continue once you’re pregnant, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. Yoga is a good option to improve strength and help manage stress.
  • Eating a balanced diet is especially important for mothers-to-be. Cut out junk food and empty calories now. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
  • Take a good multivitamin that includes 400-800 micrograms of folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent serious neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida that can develop even before you know you are pregnant.
  • Aim to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight or overweight can make it harder to get pregnant or have a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine what a healthy weight is for you.
  • Floss daily. The risk of gum disease increases when you’re pregnant, so make daily flossing a habit now.
  • Moderate your caffeine intake. While high levels of caffeine may affect fertility, most experts agree than up to 200 milligrams (about one 12-ounce cup of coffee) is safe.
  • Eliminate alcohol and marijuana. An occasional glass of wine probably won’t affect your ability to get pregnant ― but no amount of alcohol is safe to consume once you are pregnant. No amount of marijuana is known to be safe in pregnancy, and it can damage your baby’s brain development. Marijuana is not a good remedy for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and can even make those symptoms worse.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is unhealthy for everyone, and it can lower your chances of getting pregnant and even increase your chances for miscarriage. Need help? Learn about MarinHealth’s Smoking Cessation program.
  • Lower your stress levels. Stress adversely impacts fertility. Consider whether there’s anything you can take off your plate, or try yoga or guided meditation.

Are you ready to take the next step in planning for pregnancy? Make an appointment with a midwife, nurse practitioner, or OB/GYN today. MarinHealth OB/GYN | A UCSF Health Clinic has offices in Greenbrae and Novato with a team of experts to help you prepare for and oversee your pregnancy and birth. Find a provider or call 1-415-461-7800 to schedule an appointment. For more useful tips on pregnancy planning and conception, visit MyMarinHealth.org/Maternity to sign up for a free email series.

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