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Preparing for Pregnancy

Is there a baby in your future? Whether you are planning for your precious bundle to arrive in nine months, a year or even two years – there are steps you can take today to get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy.

Many women begin planning for pregnancy with a visit to their OB/GYN or healthcare provider for a preconception appointment.

“The preconception appointment is a great time to ask all your questions – whether it’s about your diet, prenatal vitamins, or any other health concerns,” said Lauren Lessard, MD, FACOG, of Wentworth Health Partners OB/GYN & Infertility in Dover.

Here are some topics that are often covered during a preconception visit:

Your provider will have a lot of questions about you and your lifestyle. Are you a smoker? Do you need to lose or gain weight? Do you exercise? It’s time to set a game plan to achieve your optimal health, including eating well, exercising, limiting alcohol consumption and drinking lots of water.

“Preparing for pregnancy is a great motivator for establishing healthy habits to carry you through pregnancy and beyond,” said Dr. Leia Card, MD, FACOG, of Wentworth Health Partners OB/GYN & Infertility in Dover.

Your provider may suggest vaccinations that are recommended before and during pregnancy. He or she can also offer advice if there are environmental exposures in your workplace, like radiation or chemicals, that could be harmful during pregnancy.

Take one – every day. Ideally, start taking a vitamin containing folic acid at least three months before you get pregnant to help prevent neural tube defects.

Taking certain medications during pregnancy can cause complications and birth defects. Make sure to discuss all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. 

Rest assured, if you take medications for conditions like anxiety and depression, high blood pressure or diabetes, there are options that are safe to use during pregnancy. A provider can help you make changes if necessary.

Reviewing your family’s past medical history can provide a lot of important information, including risk factors for possible inherited conditions. Based on your family history, your provider may refer you for genetic testing.

Many women go to their preconception appointments knowing when they would like to get pregnant and have questions about timing a pregnancy.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about birth control and pregnancy,” said Dr. Lessard. “My advice is not to stop using birth control until you are ready to get pregnant.”

Your provider can offer some tips to help you conceive, but remember this is a natural process. It can be normal for couples to try for up to a year, so try not to get discouraged. If you have concerns, the preconception visit is a great time to discuss them.

Put your health first when planning for a baby. Use all the information and resources from your preconception appointment to optimize your health. Once you are pregnant see a provider regularly for prenatal care.

“Making the effort to get healthy – including maintaining a healthy weight – will make getting pregnant easier, as well as help you to have a healthier pregnancy with reduced risk of complications,” said Dr. Card.

Wentworth Health Partners OB/GYN & Infertility offers comprehensive, personalized care for all stages of a woman’s life. Our board certified providers deliver compassionate care, from obstetrics to infertility, to many areas of gynecology. Doctors Leia Card and Lauren Lessard work with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Women & Children’s Center to offer a personalized birthing experience for you and your family.

Visit or call (603) 749-4963

OB/GYN & Infertility also offers midwifery services. Meet the obstetrics team:

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Leia Card, MD

Wentworth Health Partners OB/GYN & Infertility

Dover, NH 03820

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