Tips to get your body ready for pregnancy

You may be planning for pregnancy, but there may be some questions in your mind regarding how to make your body ready for it. There are some steps that if taken will give you the best possible chance of having a healthy pregnancy along with a healthy baby.

Quick fact:

Your heart actually grows during pregnancy as the blood volume increases up to 50% which makes it beat faster.

Tips to get ready for pregnancy

Here are some important steps that you can plan to undertake in order to begin your motherhood easily:

  • A preconception checkup: If you are ready to get pregnant, it is better that you schedule a preconception checkup. During this checkup, your overall health status will be reviewed along with the health history. Besides, there may some health areas where you need some improvement which can be analyzed by the doctor as well.
  • Taking folic acid supplement: Before you start conception, it is advised that you should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day though your first trimester. The process can be started 30 days prior to conception. By taking folic acid, you are decreasing the chances of birth defects in your baby.
  • Avoid alcohol intake: Excessive drinking is prohibited when you are trying out for pregnancy, though a moderate drink is considered fine. While during pregnancy, it is better to avoid drinking as this may pose health problems for the developing fetus.
  • Cut off smoking: Smoking can lead to miscarriage or premature birth, where you should halt this activity as it can also make it difficult for you to get pregnant.
  • Eat well and exercise: Having healthy preconception diet including of whole grains, lean proteins, low fat diary can prepare your body for pregnancy. Moreover, exercising can keep your body strong and healthy.
  • Monitor your weight: A healthy weight can make your pregnancy smoother where you can easily get pregnant as well. It is better to maintain a healthy weight before trying to conceive.

Preconception counselling in Pregnancy and Postnatal care

You may be wishing to have a healthy and happy pregnancy where having a consultation can help you. Preconception counselling concurs to planned and healthy pregnancy. During this, you can have an appointment with your healthcare specialist to plan about your pregnancy along with mitigating prevailing risk factors.

Quick Fact:

If there is poor control of diabetes, it can increase the chances of birth defects and other problems for pregnancy.

Preconception counseling

Appointment with your doctor regarding preconception counseling should be planned before three months of pregnancy. During your appointment, the following areas may be considered and discussed:

  • Your medical history: Your healthcare provider will go through your overall health before pregnancy. Any pre-existing medical condition, if any, would be discussed along with the need of medications.
  • Family history: Knowing about family history can help in identifying any genetic condition that may be passed over.
  • Lifestyle: A proper and healthy lifestyle means a healthy pregnancy where your health care provider will recommend a nutritious diet, exercising, and stoppage of smoking or alcohol.

While these are the topics discussed, there are some tests as well that can be conducted during preconception counseling, as:

  • Physical examination: Your healthcare provider may take your physical exam where he can check your heart, lungs, breast, thyroid, abdomen, weight etc. Besides, a pelvic exam and blood pressure may also be checked.
  • Tests: In case of any disease or condition, various tests for cell blood count (CBC), thyroid issues, diabetes screening etc. may be conducted as well.

Postnatal care

Postnatal care refers to the immediate care dispensed towards a mother after delivery. It includes prevention, elimination, early detection and medication for health complications. Mothers need care after delivery as they suffer from physical as well as emotional changes. Postnatal care involves taking care of nutrition, proper rest, and vaginal care for the mother to help her recover quickly.

How to get your body ready for pregnancy: 5 important steps?

Before trying to conceive and assume parenthood, it is important to take some steps that can provide the best possible chances of a healthy pregnancy along with a heathy baby. Some changes are needed to incorporate in daily lifestyle for being at better odds to conceive.

Quick Fact:

The beginning of pregnancy can relate with tiredness and morning sickness making a women feel worn out.

5 important steps

Following are some important steps that can help you begin your motherhood in a healthy way:

  1. Know your body: You should know about your ovulation period- the time when you can get pregnant. Tracking your ovulation can help you know your most fertile days and accordingly plan your pregnancy. Ovulation can be tracked using some apps, ovulation predictor strips etc.
  2. Taking prenatal supplements: Before beginning your pregnancy, prenatal supplements including prenatal vitamins should be taken. The nutrient composition in these vitamins can sustain and nourish your body along with providing protection to your baby against birth defects.
  3. Handling stress: Stress can impact your overall health being which can affect your fertility as well. Stress can impact your menstrual cycle which can affect your ability to conceive. It is important to reduce stress to think clearly along with making proper decisions and improving relationships.
  4. Staying active: You should stay active where exercising for 30 minutes a day is recommended for sound health and body. This can help you maintain weight and stress which can help your body to stay healthy.
  5. Changing diet plan: You need to optimize you diet before trying to conceive where your diet should include low carbohydrates, increased portions of proteins and healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Besides taking nutritious foods, some foods should also be cut off like fishes’ rich in mercury.

How can OB/GYN help with your family planning

You may want to plan the size of your family ahead along while also thinking about a feasible space between children. This is referred to as family planning where a gynaecologist or an obstetrician (OB/GYN) can help you to preset a family plan that is suitable for you.

Quick Fact:

As per WHO, 1.1 billion women among 1.9 billion reproductive women have a need for family planning.

Family planning

You can plan the coming of your children along with controlling their number. Besides, you can keep a space between the children as well while planning with an obstetrician or gynaecologist who can help you with the rightful decisions. Planning for pregnancy

You can begin the course of planning by starting to draft a healthy plan for pregnancy with your OB/GYN. The guidelines can comprise of making the required lifestyle changes that can increase the chances of conception along with having a healthy pregnancy. You may be suggested:

  • To take prenatal vitamins
  • Consuming nutrient rich diet
  • Stopping smoking and drinking
  • Exercises and overview of medications you take

Besides, there are women who wish to conceive soon after their first child, and some prefer keeping space between the two children. While this can be a matter of safety, your OB/GYN can suggest you the right choice as per your health condition.

Preventing pregnancy

You may want to prevent your pregnancy temporarily in case your family is complete or you don’t want children for then. There are some birth control measures where OB/GYN can guide you towards determining the right type for you. Following are some ways by which you can control the birth:

  • Birth control pills
  • Intra Uterine devices
  • Vaginal rings
  • Hormonal birth control patches
  • Birth control shots

Birth control decision is a personal decision where your healthcare professional can help in you in following effective ways.

Family planning and child care

Family planning is the right of everybody where it depends upon the couples whether they choose to have a baby or not. Family planning allows you to understand the importance of pregnancy spacing and the factors that are to be considered before trying to conceive. If you are planning on for a pregnancy, you should also know about the care your child will require at different stages of life.

Quick Fact:

Many unplanned pregnancies can occur in the very few months after giving birth to a child.

Family planning

It is always better to plan your pregnancy so that you are ready for conception or otherwise. While you may not be ready to have a child for some years, family planning gives you another benefit to prepare and time your pregnancy as well. For those who already have a child, trying for another pregnancy can be question they might be pondering upon. Therefore, spacing between pregnancy becomes also important where your preferences matter. While the research suggests than you should plan your second pregnancy after 18 to 24 months, but keeping this space below five years is considered better.

When it comes to not having a baby, it is better to look out if you are having unprotected intercourse. Talking to your doctor and conferring with the use of contraceptives can help you plan your life accordingly.

Child care

If you planned to go ahead with pregnancy and start your family, you need to be committed towards the care and development of your child as well. It is up to the parents to ensure their child is safe, stimulating and growing in the environment along with yielding opportunities for his development. Parents need to understand that how children grow and how to respond to their needs as well. Besides, they should also make up to the clean and safe environment around them along with looking upon their nutritional requirements.

Essential steps to a safe and healthy pregnancy

Pregnant? Its more than important to take care of yourself where you have to make sure you and your baby are as healthy as possible.

Quick Fact:

Babies start to cry in the womb silently as early as 28 weeks.

Steps for healthy pregnancy

Here are some essential steps that you should undertake in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy:

  • Educate yourself: There may be some questions revolving in your mind regarding childbirth along with specific concerns. You can voice your thinking by joining a childbirth class where you can learn about the pregnancy and infant care along with preparing for delivery. Besides, you can get to a healthy start by consulting a health care provider for prenatal care.
  • Eat well: While you are feeding two in your pregnancy, you need to increase your calorie intake by 300 mg a day. You need to consume a diet inclusive of calories, proteins, calcium etc. Moreover, along with having a nutritious diet you equally should stay away from food items that can pose danger to you and your baby, like undercooked meat or eggs, raw seafood, fish with mercury, etc.
  • Avoid toxins: Tobacco, alcohol, drugs etc. have been related with birth defects, preterm labor and other problems during pregnancy where they should be avoided to ensure your journey is safe.
  • Stay hydrated and drink well: You should drink ample amounts of water to stay hydrated along with keeping a healthy bowel movement. While water is the best liquid to drink, other liquids as caffeine should be limited for it lacks nutritional value.
  • Sleep and move well: While pregnancy can relate with some exhaustion, there is a need to take naps and rest enough. You can improve your sleeping with some relaxation techniques before going to bed like yoga, stretching etc. Additionally, rest is good along with exercising quotient that will help you to stay strong while keeping your heart and lungs healthy. Regular stretching and exercising can relieve you from pregnancy discomforts like backaches, constipation, morning sickness etc.

Advice on planning for a second child

A second child is about double love, laughter, and double responsibilities. You will now have less couple time and more shared responsibilities. Before you welcome a new member to the family, you must educate yourself on family planning. Here are a few tips one must follow for a second pregnancy:

  • Understand that every pregnancy is different: Every pregnancy that you go through is different as the body undergoes immense changes with fluctuating hormones. You need to be more health-conscious if you are planning a second child. It is recommended to keep a check on the iron levels to avoid preterm labor and developmental delays.
  • Have discussions about it: Consider your stress levels: Seek clarity on having a second child, especially if you both are working. Getting your time and attention divided without making it tough for other members is no cakewalk. You need to be decisive about your career before you go for a second child. Make decisions that you or your partner don’t regret or stress over in the later stages of pregnancy. This could adversely affect your health.
  • Prepare your first child: You have to ensure that your first child doesn’t have any feelings of jealousy or rivalry against the second one. Try to instill the feeling of joy about having a sibling. This would prepare the elder ones to look after the younger ones.
  • Place the pregnancy right: Track your ovulation to know the right time to conceive. Usually, a gap of 2-3 years is considered ideal for a second pregnancy. This could help you give your first child a lot of attention till he/she is out of the nappy stage. Less gap could result in premature and underweight babies.

Lastly, be decisive about your finances. Go for it only for yourself and only if your finances allow you. Keeping your age, health, finance, and career in mind could aid in effective decision-making.

Endometriosis & It’s Effect On Fertility

The most common complication of endometriosis is infertility and couples often find out about the problem when they take up tests to check fertility status. The relationship between endometriosis and infertility has been the topic of much debate. Research has shown that infertile women are six to eight times more likely to have endometriosis than fertile women. Some of the explanations given for decreased fertility in women suffering from this disorder include distorted pelvic anatomy, endocrine and ovulatory abnormalities, altered peritoneal and tubal function, altered hormonal and cell-mediated functions in the endometrium.

Based on common observations during laparoscopy, it has been found that the cysts and adhesions caused by the disease can lead to changes in anatomy of the pelvic organs. This impairs the fertilization process and in turn affects the release of eggs, thus leading to infertility.

Many women with mild to moderate endometriosis are able to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. Doctors may advise women with endometriosis not to delay having children as the condition is likely to get worse over time. Interestingly the symptoms of endometriosis, especially pain, seem to disappear in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can micturition post coitus affect chances of conception in a female

For a lot of women post coital pee is regular. Peeing after sex as your doctor, best friend and mom have probably told you countless number of times, is the best way to avoid UTI. But what about when you are trying to get pregnant?

The commonly asked question in the outpatient clinic is will peeing after sex force the sperm outside my vagina. Good News is NO! Peeing after sex has no impact on your chances of conceiving. But donŸ??t hop up and run to the bathroom right after a sexual intercourse. Lying down at least for 2 to 5 minutes after intercourse increases the odds that the sperm might reach its date with the egg. If you are prone to UTIŸ??S go ahead and pee after 5 minutes. If not, you can enjoy a good cuddle.

Here it is important to understand how the sperm works towards a pregnancy. Every time there is ejaculation millions of sperms are released and it takes only one to cause a pregnancy. Immediately after an ejaculation, with a favourable cervical mucus, sperm are off like a racing team speeding up the vagina through to the cervix to get you pregnant and set you on a journey towards a healthy pregnancy.

Contraception : The Voluntary Prevention Of Pregnancy

Considerations when Choosing a Contraceptive Method

  • Safety
  • Protection from sexually transmissible diseases
  • Effectiveness
  • Acceptability
  • Convenience
  • Education needed
  • Side Effects
  • Benefits
  • Interference with spontaneity
  • Availability
  • Expense
  • Preference

Methods of Contraception

  • Temporary
  • Behavioral
  • Hormonal
  • Barrier – Spermicides
  • Long-Term / Permanent

Types of Contraception

  1. Barrier contraceptives
  2. Hormonal contraceptives
  3. Sterilization

Note: No single method of birth control is the Ÿ??bestŸ? one. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDŸ??s

Barrier Contraceptives

Methods that physically or chemically block sperm from reaching an egg AND provide a BARRIER between direct skin to skin contact

Act as a physical block between you and your sexual partner

Great for STD protection!

Barrier Methods

  • Male condom
  • Female condom
  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical cap
  • Spermicides

MALE CONDOM

Perfect effectiveness rate = 97%

Typical effectiveness rate = 88%

Latex and polyurethane condoms are available

Combining condoms with spermicides raises effectiveness levels to 99%

  • Male condoms are 82 to 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Condoms can only be used once
  • Do not use oil-based lubricants such as massage oils, baby oil, lotions, or petroleum jelly.They will weaken the condom, causing it to tear or break.
  • Water-based are the best Ÿ?? can prevent breaking of condom.
  • Good choices: Latex condoms and polyurethane
  • Bad choices: Never choose Ÿ??naturalŸ? or Ÿ??lambskinŸ?

FEMALE CONDOM

What is it? – A soft, loose pouch that is inserted in the vagina.Flexible rings at each end hold it in place.Can be put in up to hours before sex.

Not mandatory

How do you use it?– Insert the small ring in vagina, large ring stays outside partially covering labia.

Notes: Can be used if you are allergic to latex (made of nitrile).Men usually feel no reduction in sensation.

Access: Available at many pharmacies, clinics, and online

Effectiveness: 79-95%

  • Made as an alternative to male condoms
  • Polyurethane
  • Physically inserted in the vagina
  • Perfect rate = 95%
  • Typical rate = 79%
  • Woman can use female condom if partner refuses

Diaphragm & Cervical Cap

What is it? -A soft, silicone dome that covers the cervix w/ a flexible rim that holds spermicide

How do you use it? -Put a tbsp of spermicide in and slide it into the vagina.Protection lasts 2 hours, and needs to be left in for 6 hours after sex

Notes: Neither partners should feel the diaphragm.Get re-fitted if you gain/lose 15 pounds

Access: Doctor/clinic visit needed for prescription and fitting

Effectiveness: 82-94%

Spermicides

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Film
  • Suppository
  • Sponge

What is it? Chemicals that go in the vagina before sex.Immobilize or kills sperm.Most work for 1 hour, sponge for 24 hours

How do you use it? Put in vagina following packaging directions.Most need to be put in 10 minutes before intercourse.

Notes: Key ingredient is Nonoxynol 9.Neither partner should notice spermicide.

Access: Easy to buy in a pharmacy

Effectiveness: 72-91%

Behavioral Methods

  • Predicting fertility: Basal Body

Temperature & Calendar method

  • Withdrawal/Pullout
  • Abstinence**- The only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy, STIs, HIV/AIDS
Withdrawal/Pullout

What is it ? The man takes his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates

How ? The male needs to ejaculate away from female; sperm on legs and labia can still travel into vagina

Notes: Depends on a maleŸ??s self knowledge and self control

Access: Free, available to anyone

Effectiveness: 78-96%

How effective is it?

  • Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 4 will become pregnant each year if they always do it correctly.
  • Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 27 will become pregnant each year if they don’t always do it correctly.
  • Pregnancy is also possible if semen or pre-ejaculate is spilled on the vulva.

Hormonal Methods

  • Methods that prevent the release of an egg (ovulation)
  • Prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (prevents pregnancy).
  • NO hormonal methods reduce chances of STDŸ??s!

Types of Hormonal Methods

  • The Pill
  • The Patch
  • Vaginal Ring
  • The Shot
  • IUD
  • Emergency Contraception
  • These methods add chemicals similar to hormones to stop the release of an egg and weaken the sperm.
  • The hormones change your cervical mucus and uterine lining, slow sperm, and reduce ability of fertilized egg to implant into uterine wall.

Oral Contraceptives

Also called Ÿ??the pill,Ÿ?some contain estrogen, progestin, or mix of other hormones depending on pill

The pill is 91 to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy & is always prescribed by the doctor.

A pill is taken at the same time each day (once a day for three weeks, no pill fourth week -will get menstrual period)

What is it?A pill taken orally every day at about the same time

Notes: There are many different brands.Your doctor can help you find the right one for you. Your period can occur monthly, every 3 months, or not at all

Access: Prescription needed

Effectiveness: 91-99.7%

How does the pill work?
  • Stops ovulation
  • Thins uterine lining
  • Thickens cervical mucus
Positive Benefits of Birth Control Pills
  • Prevents pregnancy
  • Eases menstrual cramps
  • Shortens period
  • Regulates period
  • Decreases incidence of ovarian cysts
  • Prevents ovarian and uterine cancer
  • Decreases acne
Side-effects
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Increase in headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Weight change
  • Spotting

Ÿ??The PatchŸ? Ÿ?? Ortho Evra

What is it? A bandage-like patch that sticks to your skin

How do you use it? Changed weekly, no patch on 4th week.Hormones are absorbed through the skin

Notes:Less effective if you weigh over 198 pounds.May cause skin irritation.

Access: Prescription needed

Effectiveness: 91-99.7%

Vaginal Ring/Nuvaring

What is it? A clear, soft, flexible 2 inch circle worn in the vagina

How to use it? The body absorbs hormones from the ring through vaginal wall.The ring is inserted and left in the vagina for 3 weeks.

Notes: One size fits all, neither partner usually feels the ring

Access: Prescription needed

Effectiveness: 91-99.7%

  • The birth control ring releases the hormones progestin and estrogen
  • It is 91 to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Ring goes inside vagina up around your cervix
  • You wear the ring for three weeks, take it out for the week you have your period, and then put in a new ring
  • This method does not protect you from HIV or other STDs.

The ShotŸ? Ÿ?? Depo Provera

What is it? A long acting hormone injection

How do you use it? Female is given a shot one time every 3 months

Notes: Not reversible- once the injection occurs, the hormones are in the woman for at least 3 months.It may take a long time to get pregnant after the shot. More chance of weight gain than any other method

Access: Clinic / doctor visit needed every 3 months

Effectiveness: 94-99.8%

  • Birth control shot given once every three months to prevent pregnancy
  • 99.7% effective preventing pregnancy
  • No daily pills to remember

Birth Control Shot

  • Every 3 months (or 12 weeks), women get shots of the hormone progestin in the buttocks or arm from their doctor.
  • It is 94 to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • It does not protect you from HIV or other STDs
Side Effects
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding and spotting for 3-6 months!
  • NO PERIOD after 3-6 months
  • Weight change
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood change
*NOT EVERY WOMAN HAS SIDE-EFFECTS!

Emergency Contraception

  • Also known as the Ÿ??morning after pillŸ?
  • The pills are 75 to 89 percent effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Can be take up to 3 days(72 hrs) AFTER unprotected sex (depending on brand)
  • Effectiveness decreases after 24 hours
  • Emergency contraception should only be used after no birth control was used during sex, or if the birth control method failed, such as if a condom broke

When should I use it?

  • The condom broke or slipped off, and he ejaculated in your vagina.
  • You forgot to take your birth control pills, insert your ring, or apply your patch.
  • Your diaphragm or cap slipped out of place, and he ejaculated inside your vagina.
  • You miscalculated your “safe” days.
  • He didn’t pull out in time.
  • You weren’t using any birth control.
  • You were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex, or were raped.

How does it work?

The hormones in the morning after pill work by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs Ÿ?? ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm. The hormones in the morning after pill also prevent pregnancy by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.

Long-Term / Permanent

Female- Tubal ligation

Male- Vasectomy

    • These procedures are permanent, and are usually done by people 35+ years
    • Both procedures are done in a doctorŸ??s office
IUD: Copper (10 years)

Tubal Ligation (Female)

The fallopian Tube is ligated and sperm and ovum can no longer meet.A small incision is made in the abdomen to access the fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes are blocked, burned, or clipped shut to prevent the egg from traveling through the tubes

Recovery usually takes 4-6 days

  • Tubal ligation or Ÿ??tying tubes.Ÿ?
  • A woman can have her fallopian tubes tied (or closed) to stop eggs from being fertilized
  • Over time, the ends of your fallopian tubes could fuse back together, and it may be possible to get pregnant

VASECTOMY (Male)

This operation is done to keep a manŸ??s sperm from going to his penis, so his ejaculate never has any sperm in it that can fertilize an egg. Operation is more simple than tying a womanŸ??s tubes. A small incision is made to access the vas deferens, the tube the sperm travels from the testicle to the penis, and is sealed, tied, or cut. After a vasectomy, a male will still ejaculate, but there wonŸ??t be any sperm present

  • It has no effect on potency
  • Male hormones are still produced, so male secondary sex characteristics are not affected
  • Sperm production continues

Vasectomy

  • Patient Teaching:
    • Apply ice to scrotum
    • Moderate activity for two days
      • Sterility is not immediate –some sperm will remain in the sperm ducts so, the male must have ejaculations to rid the ducts of these sperm
    • After he has 2 negative sperm counts, he then can resume sexual activity without use of another contraceptive.

Intrauterine Device

  • It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor.
  • 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Copper IUD: Can stay for up to 10 years – Interferes with sperm, fertilization, and prevents implantation
  • Hormonal IUD: Can stay for up to 5 years – It releases a small amount of hormone each day to keep you from getting pregnant.

Intra Uterine Device (IUD)

What is it? A small plastic Ÿ??TŸ? with a string inserted into the uterus

How do you use it? Releases synthetic progestin hormone that changes cervical mucus, fallopian tubes and the uterine lining.Stops or slows sperm and egg

Notes: Lasts 5 years.Insertion can cause a few minutes of pain, but removal is fast and easy

Access: Clinic / doctor visit needed for insertion & removal

Effectiveness: 99.8%

Content Credits: Dr. Sunitha P Shekokar