I am Dr. Jayanti Kamat, director of Srishti Fertility Care Centre and Women's Clinic I am an IVF Consultant, an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing for the last 20 years.
So today I will be talking about preconception care, the birth of a child is equivalent to planting a tree where we prepare the soil and then sow the seeds and that's not all we have to give it time and nourishment as well. In India, 70% of the pregnancies are unplanned this is occurred by a chance nobody plans for it just happens by itself. So these unplanned pregnancies can cause a lot of problems for both the mother and the baby. People still feel in India that we have to go to the gynecologist in the 7 months of pregnancy ke saatve mahine mein naam dalwane ka hai taki they have to go to the hospital to book themselves for delivery. This concept is not right, we all believe that healthy women make healthy babies so you have to make your body a safe place for your future baby to thrive. So first and foremost is you have to do a lot of introspection about yourself I will talk about age, so today there are a lot of women who are in the workforce they keep postponing the marriage and even if they are married they postpone the childbearing. Why is this a problem because what happens is has a woman grows older her fertility potential keeps on decreasing, her capacity to produce eggs decreases in addition to that the quality of the eggs also decreases. Moreover, if a woman conceives at a later age she has a lot of problems during the pregnancy such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, diabetes, preterm labor, difficult labor, there can be complications in the baby as well, the baby can be born premature or there is an increased incidence of congenital defects in the baby. So, women, today are not aware of all days they feel after they finish all commitments they can think about childbearing. Now when it comes to preconceptions you have to plan 3 months before your actually planning to conceive, so if you have any medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, seizure disorder or fit disorders, asthma, anaemia, so all these things have to be taken care of and get treated before you even plan to conceive. So don't just conceive preconceive. Then the next is medications ok, so some medication may be quiet safe during pregnancy, some medications are an absolute no-no during pregnancy because they may cause birth defects in the baby and some medications their doses need to be adjusted so as not affect the foetus. So you must be aware of all these things and you have to consult your treating physician and tell him or her that you are planning to conceive and whether the medication can be adjusted and the doses can be adjusted. The next is immunization, usually by this age women are more or less immune to all diseases but if she gets tested for rubella or she is not immunised to rubella then she should get immunised in this period, other immunizations are like Hepatitis B and chickenpox or varicella zoster is equally important because if the women contact these diseases during pregnancy, it is going to be very difficult. Then comes to the lifestyle factors, what are the lifestyle factors your food habits so if you have used to junk food you have to stop eating junk food, eat a very healthy diet, then exercise also exercise reduces the stress level and the fit women will be able to manage her labour pains in a better way. Now coming to weight issues, even if a person woman is underweight she has problem during pregnancy she can give rise to a growth retarded baby and if a woman is overweight before pregnancy again that also can lead to problems because every woman will put on certain weight during pregnancy that is normal that is physiological, but if a woman is overweight before pregnancy she has to compact her weight which is normal for her height by following a sensible diet and exercise regime because if she is overweight she is more prone for pregnancy complications like PIS or Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, diabetes, difficult labour etc. When they are planning to conceive you should also supplement takes supplements of Folic acid .4 milligram along with other multivitamins because this will help to prevent any neural defects because spine is the first thing which is formed in the body, so if there is deficiency of Folic acid there could be a problem in the sign of the baby. Last but not the least men also matter, preconceptional care is not definitely restricted to women alone men have to take care of themselves because their overall health will reflect on the sperm. So a man also has to take control or give up smoking and excessive alcohol or substance abuse, decrease stress levels and inculcate healthy food habits and exercise into its regime. So when it comes to substance abuse suppose a woman is used to smoking or alcohol she has to control this the smoking can have a detrimental effect on the baby, you have to even think about your work life balance how we are going to adjust once the baby comes and develop a good support system as well. You even have to think about your finances and have a proper financial planning in place before you have a baby. Then coming to a family history, family history is whether anybody in your family has had a congenitally abnormal child or whether there is any disease which runs in the family, for example, Thalassemia and your previous reproductive history, that suppose you have an abortion or repeated abortions so these things also have to be taken care off. Then your menstrual history, now menstrual history is very closely related to your fertility status so you have to keep a track of your menses. Nowadays we have so many apps which help you to keep a track you have to note whether your menses are regular or irregular if they are irregular that means that you are not ovulating properly it could be PCOS as well, then coming to the menstrual flow is it very scanty or very less or is it more, so if it is more if it is associated with pain it could mean that you could have a fibroid or suppose you have a very painful menses or you have pain which stops just before menses, it could mean you are suffering from endometrosis or a pelvic inflammatory disease. In spite of following all these precautions if a couple cannot conceive after one year they need to seek the services of a fertility specialist and if the women's age is more than 32 years and even if she's married for less than six months she has to get a fertility status evaluated and seek the help of the fertility specialist.
So friends don't conceive preconceived and before you think of a baby please do plan for it so that you can avoid complications during pregnancy, during labor and can have a healthy and bubbly child, happy parenting.
If you have any queries contact me on Lybrate.