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What should you do Before you get Pregnant to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy for You and Your Baby?

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Are you planning on becoming pregnant? Do you know what measures you should be taking to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby?  Our guest writer today tells us more on this.

By Dr. Stephen Mutiso, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist

A healthy pregnancy culminating into birth of a healthy baby is the ultimate desire of any mother. The outcome of any pregnancy is determined long before conception. To optimize pregnancy outcomes, it is important to have good health prior to conceiving.

Achieving good health before pregnancy includes adopting a healthy lifestyle. A healthy eating habit ensures you have adequate nutrients such as folic acid –which are important for baby’s good growth.

Diet rich in fruits and green vegetables provide high levels of micronutrients, hence should be encouraged to be taken by women contemplating getting pregnant. Weight reduction for those who are obese is important as obesity is associated with bad pregnancy outcomes. Ceasation of smoking and alcohol and other substance abuse is critical as these substances are harmful to the growing baby.

In addition to lifestyle changes, it is important to have a health check up by your gynaecologist before getting pregnant. This health checkup usually 3 months before conception, and is called preconception care. The goal of preconception care is to provide the woman with the best chance of a having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Preconception care involves review current and past medical and pregnancy history, physical assessment and laboratory testing to screen and detect any new and pre-existing diseases. If you have any chronic disease, it is important to inform your doctor. Any new or preexisting diseases must be treated or controlled well before pregnancy.

Education and counseling are important services offered during preconception care. Key topics usually covered include diet, HIV and other STDs, smoking and alcohol cessation. Folic acid supplementation is also provided during preconception care.

Chronic medical diseases which may affect pregnancy include: diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart diseases, obesity, hypothyroidism, sickle cell anemia, HIV, Hepatitis, Venous thrombosis, kidney disease and epilepsy. Chronic medical diseases should be put under control before becoming pregnant. In some cases, a change in treatment may be needed because some medications are harmful to the baby.

Preconception care therefore is not a luxury but a very key intervention to improve pregnancy outcome. It’s very necessary for every woman regardless of age and number of previous births. If you’re planning to get pregnant its important you adopt a healthy lifestyle as well as schedule an appointment you’re your gynaecologist.

Dr Stephen Mutiso is based in Nairobi, and he provides a wide range of gynecological services, including; antenatal services, delivery, Vaginal Birth after Caesarean (VBAC), Obstetric Fistula, Infertility issues and Fibroids among others. He has admission rights in various private hospitals.

He is based at Kenyatta National Hospital Doctors plaza, Suite 26/27

Telephone: 0722 678 002 or 0788 306 674

Email: mutisoh@yahoo.com   —    Website: www.drmutiso.com

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