Guest Blog Post by Maggie Richards, a freelance writer and a yoga teacher in San Diego.
Shopping for toddlers, maternity clothes, babymoon traveling — If you’re considering getting pregnant now might be a good time to schedule a preconception checkup. There you and your partner can ask questions, determine readiness and consider the options.
According to Womenshealth.gov, the food and medication taken, and habits and lifestyle of a woman can affect her baby even before it’s conceived. Even if you aren’t sure about your preferred pregnancy time frame — you should talk to a doctor if it’s anytime within the year.
About a month or so before your appointment, make a list of the questions you’d like to ask your doctor. You may want to print your list or email yourself a copy, so it’s always easily accessible to open and update. Continue to add to the list until the day of your appointment.
Questions to Ask:
- How do smoking, alcohol and illegal drug use in either partner affect fertility?
- What would be an ideal weight for me to be at?
- Do you have any suggestions for medication or home remedies that can improve my chances for pregnancy?
- Which vitamins should I be taking?
- Will the birth control methods I was using before have an effect on how long it takes me to conceive?
- When do I have the best chance of conceiving?
- Is there anything my partner and I can do to improve our chances?
- Are there any health issues I’m at risk for or need to take care of before fertility?
- Is my age an issue?
- Are there any unsafe chemicals I should stay away from while trying to conceive?
Increasing your chances for fertility include understanding ovulation and your personal cycle. When talking to your doctor, ask which ovulation testing methods he or she suggests. For example, a First Response digital ovulation test tracks your personal LH level daily for a month in order to detect when you usually ovulate. Compare this brand to the methods your doctor provides. Ask about other factors, such as diet, exercise and sexual positions that could also contribute to improving your chances of pregnancy.
Topics to Talk About:
- You and your partner’s medical, surgical, reproductive and family histories
- Genetic conditions at risk
- Immunizations and vaccinations
- Ways to improve overall health
- Potential health problems or hazards you could run into
- Family concerns that could affect your health, such as domestic violence or lack of support
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- The normal period of time it takes a couple to conceive
Even if, you’ve been seeing your doctor for years, don’t assume he or she remembers everything about you. Talk about your health history, lifestyle factors, and home and workplace environment — especially if you have any concerns about any of them. If you have a substance abuse problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests asking your doctor for a referral to a local treatment center. Whatever your questions, it’s likely you’ll return home with a wealth of knowledge. Your doctor will likely have pamphlets to help you keep track of all the information he or she shares but, if not, consider taking notes, so you don’t forget!