So, you and your significant other have decided that you are ready to start a family, Congratulations! This is such an exciting time in your life! I recently went to my “pregnancy planning” appointment and highly suggest you consider scheduling a pregnancy planning appointment with your doctor for several reasons.
Obtain updated blood tests: In addition to “regular” blood work, your doctor will perform a blood test to check your thyroid. During pregnancy, if you have pre-existing hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, you may require more medical attention to control these conditions, especially in the first trimester. Untreated thyroid diseases in pregnancy may lead to premature birth, preeclampsia (a severe increase in blood pressure), miscarriage, and low birth weight among other problems. It is important to talk to your doctor about your thyroid history so that you can be monitored before, and during pregnancy.
Get your vitamin D Levels Checked: According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40-60% of the entire U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, including pregnant women. There is a short list of foods that contain vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from fortified foods and from the sun as vitamin D is a hormone that needs sunlight to turn on manufacturing by the body. My test results showed that my vitamin D levels were low and I live in Florida, where there is plenty of sun! The best way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is through supplementation. Bruce Hollis, professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina recommends that pregnant women take a supplement of 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
Spend Quality Time with your Doc: This appointment allows you to have your doctor’s full attention to ask them ANY question you want! As these moments are precious, I recommend you prepare a list of questions and write down the answers to discuss with your significant other later.
Discuss nutrition and lifestyle: Ask your doctor about your prenatal vitamins, vitamin D supplements, Iron and Folic acid supplements. I brought in all of my supplements and made sure the doctor was comfortable with them.
It’s never too early to consider your delivery preferences. I recommend that you ask your doctor about their practice. For example, does the doctor deliver every day? If your doctor only delivers on Mondays and you have your baby on a Tuesday, how does that work? Are you ok with another doctor from his/her practice filling in? What is your doctors c-section rate? If you are considering having a doula, is your doctor ok with that? It is important that you are very comfortable with your doctor.
My pregnant friends and new mama’s keep telling me that this is the most wonderful time in their life! I am so excited about starting a family and hope that you are too!