Whether you are currently expecting or just trying to get pregnant, your OB/GYN is going to be an important part of your life. You'll likely receive lots of advice from many different people on how to have a healthy pregnancy, but none you'll receive is more important than that from your obstetrician. Here are five things your obstetrician wants you to know for a healthy pregnancy.
The best pregnancy care begins before you are pregnant
Although many women have healthy, successful, unplanned pregnancies, it's much better for you, and your baby, if you begin taking good care of yourself before you get pregnant. This means more than just taking extra vitamins or folic acid; it means getting a thorough examination from your OB/GYN and discussing your entire medical history. Your doctor needs to know about any pre-existing medical conditions you have before you get pregnant in order to give you the best care during your pregnancy. Be prepared to give details on any medical problems or illnesses that run in your family, too, including those on your partner's side of the family.
Stress is bad for babies (and mommies, too)
While it's not practical to completely remove all stress from your life during your pregnancy, your doctor would love it if you would just try to eliminate as much as possible. Stress can cause your body to produce excessive hormones that can directly affect your growing baby. Too much stress during pregnancy can lead to early labor or miscarriage, low birth weight, and an increased risk of problems for your baby after it is born. Some studies suggest that too-high levels of stress hormones during pregnancy can actually affect your baby's brain after birth, so to give your baby the best start in life, learn to manage your stress during pregnancy.
Don't stop taking all medicines during your pregnancy
It's true that many medications are not completely safe to take while pregnant, but in some cases, the illnesses that they treat are worse than the side effects that the drugs could have on you or your baby. Let your doctor decide which medications you can safely stop taking, and which ones you should continue to use, before making any changes.
It's okay to gain weight during pregnancy, but not too much
Most women feel very conflicted about gaining weight during pregnancy. Some enjoy "eating for two," and happily pack on too much extra weight, which can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes during or after pregnancy. Others fear gaining any weight at all, and have unrealistic expectations about regaining their pre-baby weight within weeks of giving birth. In general, a woman of average size should only gain between 25-35 pounds during her entire pregnancy. Some women should gain more, others should gain less, depending on their pre-pregnancy weight. All women, regardless of their pre-pregnancy size, should speak with their doctor or a place like Women's Clinic of Johnson County about how much weight is "acceptable" for their pregnancies.
Post-natal depression is real, and so is pre-natal depression
Pregnancy is noted for being a magical, wonderful time in a woman's life, but the rosy glow of pregnancy can hide some terrible darkness. Pre-natal depression, or depression that occurs while you are pregnant, is more common than many women realize. You might be tempted to dismiss your depression as being triggered by changing hormone levels, but that's not always the cause. Some women are simply more susceptible to depression while pregnant, especially if they've been depressed before or have a family history of depression.
If you suffer from pre-natal, or antepartum depression, you might also be at risk of developing post-natal depression. Depression can have a negative impact on both your pregnancy and your ability to bond with your baby after birth, so it's very important to let your doctor know if you are suffering from signs of depression.
Work with your OB/GYN to manage your pregnancy, and you'll give your baby the best start possible, even before it's born.