Protect Your Pregnancy Before You Conceive
Experts say there are many things women can do to increase the health of their pregnancy -- and their baby -- long before they conceive.
The Preconception Exam continued...
"One of the things we're seeing in the dawning of the 21st
century is a tremendous amount of new information on genetic risk assessment --
and obviously the time to be aware of any potential genetic risks is before you
conceive," says Hecht.
Other experts agree. "One thing that many patients don't think
about it is that certain ethnic groups may be at risk for certain types of
genetic disorders -- African Americans are at risk for sickle cell anemia,
eastern Europeans need to be checked for Tay-Sachs disease, Mediterranean
people and southeast Asians have to watch out for thalessemia, while Caucasians
of northern European extraction should be screened for cystic fibrosis, all
before getting pregnant," says Williams.
Regardless of what your exam uncovers, doctors say that by
knowing the potential trouble spots ahead of time, you can be better prepared
to deal with any problems that might develop during your pregnancy, regardless
of the cause.
Says Silverstein: "If you optimize your health prior to getting
pregnant, ultimately, you can have a healthier pregnancy, which is not only
good for you, but important to your baby."
Colette Bouchez is the co-author of Getting Pregnant: What
You Need To Know Now and the author of the forthcoming book Your
Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy.