Pregnancy and menopause are times of significant change in the life of a woman. Below is some advice on ways to get and stay healthy during these changes.
Preparing yourself (and your body) for pregnancy is an important step in having a healthy baby. If you are trying to conceive, or still just thinking about it, below are some helpful tips for getting yourself ready for the physical stress of pregnancy.
Having a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and fish is essential to your health. Unhealthy eating, being over or underweight can prevent you from conceiving. Starting a healthy diet now will help you maintain good eating habits during your pregnancy and beyond.
Exercise is also important for your preconception health. Whether you choose high impact aerobics, or low impact walking or yoga, getting started now will help you be physically fit for pregnancy and can reduce the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy.
We recommend 400 mcg of folic acid per day. Folic acid prevents spinal and brain defects, which occur in the first few weeks after conception. Taking them while you are trying to get pregnant will ensure that the fetus receives the proper nutrients after conception
Drugs, Alcohol, and Smoking
Drugs and alcohol can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Children born of mothers who used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy having higher rates of learning disabilities, behavior problems, and mental retardation. Quitting these things now will increase the likelihood of having a healthy pregnancy and child.
Smoking is bad for your lungs and heart and can cause premature birth and low birth weight in children. You should quit smoking before you start trying to conceive.
If you are taking any prescription medications, be sure to let the prescribing doctor know that you are looking to get pregnant. Some medications can reduce your chances of conceiving or be harmful to a fetus. He or she may be able to offer you an alternate medication or treatment.
Stress can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. If you are overly stressed, try taking a yoga class and make sure that you get plenty of rest. Massages and hot baths are also great for reducing stress!
If you work around toxic or dangerous materials, you should try to change jobs or limit your exposure to these materials as they can affect your fertility and the health of the fetus.
Small amounts of caffeine (about one cup a day) are fine. Excessive caffeine can cause miscarriage or hyperactivity in children. Making the switch to decaf coffee or tea now can increase your chances of carrying a healthy child to term.
Get a Physical
Having a physical is the best way to get started in preparing your body for pregnancy. The doctor will let you know about diet, exercise, vitamins, and can help you minimize the stress from chronic health conditions.
Women who are pregnant have a lot of questions about their health during pregnancy. Here is some advice on maintaining optimum health during pregnancy. If you have any questions, or are having any issues, please contact us.
- One daily, make sure they contain chromium selenium and iodine
- 400 Mcg of folic acid, 1500 mg of calcium
- Brush and floss regularly (swollen gums are common during pregnancy)
- Dental work can and should be done during pregnancy if needed
- X-rays can be performed if you are properly protected (double up on the protective smock) Have teeth cleaned twice during pregnancy
Sexual activity is fine. If you have concerns, please ask.
Have someone else change your cat's litter box. Cat stool is known to carry toxoplasmosis.
Unless your job is physically or mentally stressful, you should be able to work until about a month before your due date. Disability payments are available from 30 days before your due date to up to 6 weeks after delivery. This money is tax-free.
Avoid elevations above 7,000 feet after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Before long flights or drives, take 81mg of aspirin (if you are not allergic), drink plenty of water, and be sure to move around every 2 hours to prevent blood clots.
4 weeks before your due date, travel will be limited to a 30 mile radius from the hospital.
- Personal Care Hair care: hair dying, permanents, haircare is permitted after the first trimester.
- Manicures are permitted, if you have artificial nails, wear a mask when they are using the chemicals.
- Massages, pre-natal yoga, and exercise are all encouraged.
- Check with Dr. Kadze to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise.
- Childbirth Classes
- We highly recommend taking labor & delivery classes, baby care and breastfeeding classes, and infant CPR and safety classes.
- If you are between 23 and 35 weeks and you are having any issues, such as bleeding or frequent contractions, call your doctor immediately.
- If you are after 35 weeks and you are experiencing bleeding, contractions every 5 to 10 minutes, or your water has broken, please call us as you are probably in labor.
Pre-natal care is vital to the health of you and your baby. Most of your pre-natal visits will be quick and easy. We will discuss how you are feeling and answer any questions that you may have. We will obtain a urine sample, check your blood pressure, and then measure the baby's growth and listen to his or her heartbeat. Below is a schedule of visits that you should have with us during your pregnancy. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
8-11 Weeks - Initial Obstetrical Visit:
- Medical history: We will obtain information about prior pregnancies, any allergies, surgery history, and general medical history
- Pelvic exam and Pap Smear: We will test for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and evaluate your vaginal discharge
- Blood Work: We will analyze blood count, blood type, Rh, thyroid levels. We will also test for syphilis, HIV, and Herpes. Testing for cystic fibrosis, fragile x and other genetic disorders will be offered at this time.
- Urine Sample: We will order a urinalysis.
- Trans-vaginal Ultrasound: this will confirm your due date.
12 - 13 1/2 Weeks - First Trimester Screen:
- Nuchal translucency ultrasound: This is a screening ultrasound where the thickness of the baby's neck is measured and blood is drawn in order to screen for genetic disorders such as Down's Syndrome. We will refer you to a Perinatologist for this ultrasound.
18-19 Weeks - Ultrasound:
- Ultrasound: This will evaluate the fetus' organs and check for issues with the placenta or amniotic fluids. This is also the time you may find out the sex of the baby. If you do not want to know, please let us know. We will refer you to a Perinatologist for this ultrasound
- Blood Work: This will test for chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. We will check for Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), Human Chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and Estriol (uE3).
28 Weeks - Blood Work:
- Blood Work: we will test for diabetes, and anemia. This visit will be about an hour and a half for the diabetes screening, so plan accordingly.
- Post-partum Discussion: This is when we can discuss your plan post-partum. If you are not interested in having more children, this is the time to schedule a tubal ligation or cauterization
- You should schedule visits for every two weeks after this appointment*
35 Weeks - Strep Culture:
- Group B strep culture is performed on vagina and rectum
- You should schedule weekly appointments after this appointment*
Peri-menopause is the transition to menopause and generally occurs in women between 40 and 55. The signs and symptoms can vary widely from woman to woman. You may experience something similar to your mother or sister, or your experience may be very different. Below are some typical symptoms and ways to enhance your health during this time.
- Hot flashes, night sweats
- Mood Swings, irritability, depression
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular periods, heavier or lighter periods,
- If you spot in between periods during this time, please contact us as this may be a sign of endometrial cancer* Vitamins
- Folic Acid: protects your heart and decreases the risk of colon cancer
- Omega 3 fish oil or flax seed oil supplements: helps prevent/reduce hair loss and dry skin
- 1000-1500 mg of calcium with Vitamin D: prevents bone loss
If vitamins alone don't help, hormone replacement therapy is widely used to ease the symptoms of menopause. For information on hormone replacement therapy options, please see our Natural Hormone Replacement page