If you and your partner have decided there is no time like the present to try to conceive a baby, the first step should always be a routine examination by a medical doctor. Like many women, having a candid conversation with a doctor may prove challenging. Read below for some good questions to ask for a successful exam.
The term is typically called "preconception care" and its purpose is to make sure that there are no potential risks to you and your future baby, and to have a discussion with your future obstetrician about your health. During your examination, your doctor may order lab tests to check for conditions such as rubella, syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis. He or she may also do a physical examination, similar to your yearly routine exam, which may, or may not, include a pap smear.
Here are some additional items that you will want to discuss with your doctor, if they do not broach the subject first:
Prenatal Vitamins: You will want to discuss with your doctor what type of prenatal vitamins they suggest, given your personal diet and past experience.The main active ingredient in prenatal vitamins is folic acid. Taking folic acid during pregnancy (and even beforehand) has been proven to lessen the chances of your baby having neural tube defects.
Vaccinations: Being caught-up with vaccines is a very important aspect of trying to conceive. While most of us received our vaccines during childhood, there are certain ones that may need a booster, or may not have been developed 20-something years ago. You may want to consider getting the flu shot prior to trying to conceive, and look back into your shot record and discuss other vaccination options with your doctor. Also, urge your spouse or significant other to investigate their vaccinations, as they will also be spending lots of hands-on time with their baby, as well.
Proper Diet: It is ideal to begin your pregnancy with proper nutrition. Discuss any dietary concerns with your healthcare provider, and make sure to inform them if you are currently attempting to lose weight.
Exercise: Talk to your doctor about your exercise routine, and see if they have any concerns about the type of activity you do.
Reproductive History: This encompasses many things such as previous pregnancies, contraception use, menstrual cycle, and previous pap smear results.You will also want to inform the doctor if you have any sexually transmitted diseases, or a previous history with vaginal infections.
Medical & Surgical History: Talk about any medical problems you have currently, or that appeared during any previous pregnancies. Also, mention any hospitalizations and/or surgeries you may have had in the past.
Going to the doctor and having an open conversation doesn't have to be daunting, or intimidating, as long as you have a general plan as to what you'd like to discuss. Happy talking, everyone!