Women's Health

Planning for Pregnancy


Pre-pregnancy planning helps spouses understand how to improve their chances of having a healthy pregnancy. It is highly recommended to schedule a pre-conception checkup visit with the doctor. Such a visit is important for all women, especially women under 20 or over 30 years old, or if the woman suffers from any chronic diseases, or has any special concerns.

Things you are expected to know before the pre-conception checkup visit:
  • Determining the appropriate conception method: 
    • It will be easier for the doctor to estimate the date of ovulation and possible date of pregnancy, if the woman had at least one natural menstrual cycle before pregnancy.
  • ​Ensuring the necessary pre-pregnancy vaccinations were taken: 
    • Such vaccinations include: chickenpox (varicella), German measles (rubella), given the risk they pose to fetus. The vaccines will only be given after conducting blood tests preferably one month before trying to conceive, to check the immune system, and make sure that the necessary vaccinations were taken.
  • Chronic diseases, medications or dietary supplements:
    • If the woman suffers from obesity or chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, asthma, hypertension, thyroid disorders or epilepsy), controlling such conditions before pregnancy will be highly recommended. In some cases, a change in the dosage of some medications, herbs, or dietary supplements might be necessary. The doctor may even recommend stopping certain products when planning for pregnancy.
  • Sexually transmitted infections:
    • If a woman is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or believes that she or her partner suffers from a sexually transmitted infection, she will have to undergo pre-pregnancy tests and screenings to diagnose and treat the condition.
  • Family medical history:
    • The doctor should be informed of any genetic disorders that run in the family before pregnancy, in which case the doctor may refer the woman to a specialist in hereditary diseases who will conduct the relevant pre-pregnancy screening.
  • Spouses’ age:
    • Older women are at a higher risk of suffering from fertility problems, miscarriage, chromosomal abnormalities, and some pregnancy-related complications (e.g. gestational diabetes). Such problems can also be attributed to the father’s age.
  • Previous pregnancy history:
    • It is important to mention the number of previous pregnancies, as well as the delivery method. The doctor should be informed of any complications that the woman may have experienced before, during or after delivery, or in case of previous congenital birth defects.
Key pre-pregnancy preparations:
  • Folic acid:
    • Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid as supplements daily before and during pregnancy (until the 12th week of thereof); to reduce the risk of your baby developing neural tube defects. Some women suffering from epilepsy, or diabetes, or those who have previously had a child with neural tube defects are advised to take 5 mg folic acid.
  • Maintain a healthy weigh:
    • Overweight and obesity increase the risk of various pregnancy complications, including: high blood pressure (hypertension), blood clots and gestational diabetes. A healthy weight can be maintained by following a balanced diet and exercising.
  • Stop smoking:
    • Smoking is associated to several health and pregnancy-related problems (e.g. preterm birth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Stop drinking alcohol:
    • Alcohol can reach the fetus. Excessive alcohol exposure can cause fetal growth problems.

Last Update : 07 June 2023 02:32 PM
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