First of all, you should make sure that your health is as up to par as you can have it.For instance, if you have blood pressure problems, you need to get those well controlled before you get pregnant, on as few a medications as you can, and to control the blood pressure.If you have diabetes, you want to get your blood sugars controlled. You want to make sure you are as healthy as you can be.You want to make sure you're as close to your ideal body weight as you can be. If you are significantly overweight,then you may want to try to go on a weight reduction program before you get pregnant, because there are clearly increased risks with significant obesity.And the same thing is true with people who are significantly underweight.You may want to gain as much weight as you can that so your outcome for your pregnancy can be maximized by getting as close to your ideal body weight.You want to make sure common sense things are up to date, like your vaccinations, your tetnus shot, things like that. You know, you can get a tetnus shot while you're pregnant,but you'd rather not, you don't need to. If you get it before you're pregnant, and you inadvertently injured yourself or whatever, then you could avoid having to have it while you are pregnant.The same thing is true like with rubella vaccinations if you haven't been vaccinated for that, hepatitis vaccinations, those things should be up to date.if you know you're not immune, or you haven't had chicken pox in the past, then you should definitely consider it before you're pregnantso you can avoid the problem if you are exposed to someone while you're pregnant who has chicken pox because that can have significant implications for the pregnancy.If you're considering pregnancy, you should also make sure that you're consuming folic acid. Folic acid helps to reduce your chances of having a baby with a neural tube defect,or spina bifida, and in general, you should start the folic acid at least one month from the time you anticipate conception, although nobody knows exactly when they conceive usually,and you should continue that through the first three months of the pregnancy. As far as supplementation with other vitamins, if you have a normal US diet, well balanced diet,most people believe that you don't need extra vitamin D. The people who might need extra vitamin D are people who are complete vegetarians, people who don't eat any animal products whatsoever.Some of those people don't get enough vitamin D in their diet and have to be supplemented.And then, generally, you want to be as physically fit as you can. Patients who are in good physical condition,who exercise regularly before pregnancy, tolerate pregnancy and the labor and delivery process much better than women who are not in good physical shape.
What about the father-to-be? What can he do to make sure he makes himself as healthy, or does that matter?
Dr. Keith Eddleman:
Well, adequate sperm production and healthy sperm production is also predicated on a healthy father too.You know you need to be optimizing your health, optimizing your physical capability, those types of things. That's from the standpoint of production of sperm.From the standpoint of pregnancy outcome, what the father can do is to try to support his partner in achieving the goals I mentioned earlier,you know about getting to your ideal body weight, getting physically fit, getting all your medical conditions addressed.You know, support your partner in doing that, and maybe even do it together.