May is Pregnancy Awareness Month
If you are considering starting a family, there are many health and lifestyle factors to keep in mind. Dr. David Ghozland, an OB/GYN in Los Angeles, notes that May is Pregnancy Awareness Month 2016, and it’s a great time to focus on pregnancy education, exercise, nutrition and wellness.
Pregnancy awareness begins with good prenatal care. In a nutshell, prenatal care is the health care you get immediately before and during pregnancy. Taking care of yourself in the months before conception is important because statistics show babies of mothers who forgo prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight.
Seeing your doctor now can also help him or her spot any health-related red flags early on, while there is style time for treatment and intervention. Things you will want to take into consideration include looking at family/genetic health concerns; evaluating dietary habits; reviewing current prescription medications and supplement regimens; and ordering any needed screenings or blood work. Other suggestions include:
- Take folic acid. You should get at least 400 to 800 micrograms daily. It’s a good idea to begin this regimen at least three months before getting pregnant. Folic acid is proven to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine.
- Cut out alcohol and smoking. Making your own health a top priority now will ensure your new baby gets the best possible start in life.
- If you smoke, quit. Same goes for alcohol consumption.
- See your OB/GYN. Schedule a routine gynecological exam that includes screening for STDs, diagnosis, treatment and care for chronic diseases such as urinary incontinence, painful, irregular or heavy menses, and screening for cervical and breast cancer. If you have any fertility concerns, now is a good time to begin getting those questions addressed as well.
Pregnancy Awareness Month 2016 is the perfect time to look into proactive prenatal care. Dr. Ghozland advises his Los Angeles patients to prioritize prenatal care, even if they’ve already been through a full term pregnancy without complications. Each pregnancy is different and your health needs are always evolving. Seeing your doctor before, during and after your pregnancy is a smart decision for you and your child.