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Med-Check with Dr. Torre: When You're Thinking About Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a wonderful time and one of the most important milestones in a woman's life. That's how it was for me when I had my daughter. To help ensure a healthy pregnancy, I schedule my patients for Preconception Counseling in my office as soon as they begin thinking about becoming pregnant. This is especially important if you're older than age 35, have health conditions, are on medications or have special concerns. Being emotionally prepared is healthy, and your body should be ready as well. With every pregnant patient, we develop and customize a Prenatal and Delivery Plan for you during this extraordinary time of your life.

Dawn F. Torre, MD, FACOG

Planning Ahead

If you've been taking birth control pills, ovulation is possible as soon as two weeks after you stop taking the pill. Take a pill-free break before trying to conceive. It will be easier to estimate when you ovulated and when you are due if you have at least one normal period before conceiving. If you plan to wait a few months, use a backup form of birth control while your menstrual cycle gets back to normal. Long term birth control such as progestin implants or injections may cause your return to fertility to take somewhat longer. Still, most women conceive within 12 months of stopping any type of reversible birth control.

If your immunizations aren't complete or you're not sure if you're immune to certain infections, your preconception care may include one or more vaccines, preferably at least one month before you try to conceive.

Your medical history is an important consideration. We will work together to ensure your diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure is under control before you conceive. Adjusting medications, herbs, supplements or other treatments before pregnancy is common. Reviewing previous pregnancy history is important too. Complications such as miscarriages, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, premature birth or birth defects will be discussed. Special prenatal care may be needed during pregnancy. Taking prenatal vitamins before conception helps prevent neural tube defects and can be taken starting one month prior to trying to conceive. As routine, we will provide a complete physical and pelvic exam with a pap and STD testing to screen for any infections.

Genetic Screening

If your family or your partner's family hereditary history is of concern and there is an increased risk of having a child who has certain medical conditions or birth defects, genetic screening for conditions can be ordered. Preconception assessment can test for a myriad of familial conditions.

Putting Yourself First

A healthy lifestyle during the period of conception and pregnancy is essential. A balanced diet, regular physical activity and managing stress are important, as well as achieving a normal baseline weight. It's also important to avoid alcohol, illegal drugs and exposure to toxic substances. If you smoke, this is an ideal time to quit. Our goal is to place you first and set you up for a healthy and successful pregnancy.