Are you currently trying to become pregnant, or have you just found out that you are pregnant? As exciting a time as this is, there are many things that new mothers need to know before they get pregnant or before they get further along in gestation.
Dr. Amy Forrest with Greenwood Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that the most common question women have after they find out they are pregnant is if any medication they are on is bad for the baby.
“We advise people to call us within the first week of finding out they are pregnant,” she said. “We can go over any questions they have and get them on alternate medications if needed.”
The initial visit will confirm the pregnancy. After that, they will schedule a first trimester ultrasound and a visit with an OB counselor who will go over everything the patient needs to know, like how often they will have appointments throughout their pregnancy and when to plan for the delivery. The counselor will ask them about their medical history in that visit.
“It is pretty thorough,” Dr. Forrest said. “The counselor can answer any questions the mother may have and really talk to them about what to expect.”
Dr. Forrest said that proper prenatal care is vital for the safety of the mother and baby.
“Just remember, even healthy women can have complicated pregnancies,” she said. “Proper prenatal care ensures a better outcome.”
Of course, eating healthy and taking prenatal vitamins is recommended.
“Always stay well-hydrated,” she said. “Pregnant women tend to get dehydrated easier.”
She also said that prenatal vitamins should include folic acid, “which can prevent neural tube and heart defects.”
Too much weight gain or lack of weight gain is always an issue among pregnant women as well.
“We can help them determine what is best for them,” she said. “Everyone is different. There might be reasons why you aren’t gaining and that it might not be a need for alarm. Or we may need to advise you to keep the weight gain under control. It is something we really just need to assess based on the individual.”
Dr. Forrest said a major misconception with pregnancy is remaining active – either through work or exercise.
“It is definitely important to remain active, and I advise all my patients to do that,” she said. “I have some patients who run marathons the week before they are due and others who work all the way up to their due date.”
Not everyone can do that and, although those may be more extreme circumstances, Dr. Forrest said that continuing an aerobic exercise routine is important throughout pregnancy.
“When I was pregnant, I modified my aerobic exercise to be a little less intense. I lifted weights, but I went with lighter weights and just did more reps,” she advised.
As for couples who are trying to get pregnant, Dr. Forrest said it is still important for women to start taking prenatal vitamins before they even get pregnant.
“Have a prenatal visit with your OB-GYN,” she said. “Make sure you are healthy and doing what you need to be doing before you get that positive test.”
She said many couples think there is a fertility issue if they don’t become pregnant in the first month after getting off birth control.
“Please know that even for normal, healthy couples it can take up to a year to get pregnant,” she warned. “If after a year, and if your periods are regular, you haven’t become pregnant, then see a fertility specialist. However, we can actually treat infertility in those initial months within our office.”
For more information on Greenwood OB-GYN, visit www.gwdobgyn.com or call 864-227-6371.
By Theresa Stratford