…Then Comes the Baby Carriage
For many couples planning a wedding, starting a family is high on the agenda. While getting pregnant may seem straightforward, sometimes it may not be. Even if it is, becoming pregnant is one thing, but having a healthy pregnancy is another.
Like the perfect wedding, many couples have a vision for their perfect family, including exactly when they want to have that baby. Gregory Kroeger, MD, an OB/GYN on the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie medical staff, reminds couples that pregnancy is not something they can completely control.
“Every couple and every woman is different,” he says. “Statistically, there is only about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month.”
That means even if there is no medical issue preventing pregnancy, a couple often must try for months to conceive, and that’s if a woman’s menstrual cycle – and therefore ovulation – occurs monthly. Some women have longer cycles.
It’s important not to panic if conception doesn’t happen immediately. In fact, Dr. Kroeger advises that most couples do not need to seek medical help from their OB/ GYN until after a year of trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. Although, women 35 and older who are not having regular menstrual cycles should seek help after six months or sooner.
Control What You Can
Before attempting to get pregnant, it may be a good idea for a woman to see her OB/GYN.
“We want to optimize a woman’s health going into pregnancy,” says Dr. Kroeger. “That includes making sure any current or underlying medical problems are treated, any medications she may be taking are safe and that she is up to date on important vaccinations.”
Consulting an OB/GYN is especially important for women with health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or who are struggling with their weight. He also recommends that women attempting pregnancy start taking prenatal vitamins.
“The most important time to be on prenatal vitamins is during the first eight weeks of pregnancy because that is when the baby’s organs are formed,” Dr. Kroeger explains. Since most women don’t find out they are pregnant for at least four or five weeks after conceiving, it makes sense to take prenatal vitamins while trying.”
“They don’t need to be expensive or by prescription,” says Dr. Kroeger. “Just a basic prenatal vitamin available at any grocery store is fine.”
Eating healthy, exercising and managing weight are other things women can control during their pregnancy. Although it may be tempting to splurge for nine months, avoiding too many sugary and high fat foods is important in preventing too much weight gain and having a healthy pregnancy.
In addition, regularly scheduled appointments with an OB/GYN are key to checking if a pregnancy is progressing as expected and baby is healthy. They also allow women to develop a relationship with a physician who can help explain changes happening during pregnancy, address any concerns and establish trust with the medical professional who likely will be assisting in the delivery.
Everyone wants the pregnancy and delivery to go smoothly and “just as planned.” But if it doesn’t, it is important that a woman can trust her OB/GYN and know that he or she has her and her baby’s best interest at heart.
Having an engaged partner on the pregnancy journey can make the experience easier. That may mean different things for different couples, but the woman carrying the child should always feel supported.
“Be involved,” Dr. Kroeger advises partners. “Pregnancy can be tough physically and emotionally. Women are often scared and don’t know what to expect, so being present and patient and understanding is invaluable.”
Starting or growing a family is a life-changing experience for every couple. The road there may not always be easy, but the result is worth it.