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Jun 29,2007
Women’s Health: Plan today for pregnancy tomorrow
by Kenneth L. Noller, MD

The days that immediately follow conception are some of the most important in the development of a child.  Because nearly half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended, many women will learn that they are pregnant before they’ve had a chance to make lifestyle changes beneficial to both mother and growing fetus.  Whether you’re actively trying to have a baby or not, it’s never too early to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, birth, and baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages reproductive-aged women to talk to their doctors about preconception care.  You can discuss your desire for children, the optimal time to have them, the amount of space you’d like between pregnancies, and your current birth control needs. 

Your doctor can also review personal health information that could affect a future pregnancy, such as family medical history, environmental and work-related exposure to harmful substances, the risk of sexually transmitted infections, and substance abuse. 

If you are considering having children, your doctor may suggest some changes before you conceive.

Diet.  Folic acid and other vitamins and minerals are vital for healthy fetal development, but most women do not receive enough of these nutrients in their diets. 

Exercise.  If you do not currently get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days, your doctor may recommend that you increase activity now for a more active and comfortable pregnancy later.

Weight.  Being overweight can cause high blood pressure and diabetes, put extra stress on your heart, and increase the chance of having a very large baby.  Underweight women may find it difficult to conceive and are at risk of delivering low-birth-weight babies.  Aim to fall into the normal BMI range for your height.

Preexisting medical conditions.  Women with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, or obesity may need special care during pregnancy or may be using medications that are harmful to fetuses.  Try to get your condition under control and check the safety of all current medications with your doctor. 

Substance abuse.  Smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs have been proven to cause birth defects in newborns.  Women contemplating pregnancy should not use these substances.

For more information, the ACOG Patient Education Pamphlet “Good Health Before Pregnancy” is available at www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp056.cfm.

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Related news
Strong Heart, Healthy Heart by Douglas W. Laube, MD posted on Jan 26,2007

Women’s Health: Tips for travel during pregnancy by Kenneth L. Noller, MD posted on Jun 14,2007

3 Things Every Woman Should Ask Her Physician by Bend Weekly News Sources posted on Jan 19,2007

Moms get serious about health and fitness in 2007 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Feb 23,2007

Plan-B emergency contraception available OTC in Oregon by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Apr 06,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 15 votes)

  • A SWEET BATTLE OF PREGNANCY, FOLIC ACID MAY WIN---BUT MIND IT LADIES, YOU MAY GIVE BIRTH TO A TWIN. The author, Dr. Kennth L. Noller, has rightly pointed out the necessity of folic acid—one of the B complex vitamins—for a smooth pregnancy. But the important question is how to deliver this vital vitamin to the ladies ? But recent research says that pregnant women are advised to take only the natural form of vitamin B to avoid neural tube abnormalities such as spina bifida, thus creating circumstances to give birth to twins. The British Government’s recent decision to add folic acid to bread for all out distribution of this vitamin has been thoroughly opposed by the scientists of the Aberdeen University. Aberdeen scientists say that consumption of folic acid-fortified bread could lead to more women giving birth to twins after IVF treatment. The British Food Standards Agency ( FSA ) appears to have approved this quixotic idea. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/dietfitness.html?in_article_id=385252&in_page_id=1798 ). In my view, there is yet another hazard of giving folic acid to pregnant women through white bread. The FSA has, however, forgotten the well-proven scientific fact that unlike ordinary wheat flour, the WHITE FLOUR , used in making bread, remains laden with the diabetes-creating chemical—ALLOXAN. The latter is the chemical used by scientists to turn healthy experimental animals to diabetic ones for doing research on them to see the effect of new anti-diabetic drugs. If this “new idea”, viz., “FOLIC ACID—THROUGH—BREAD”, is implemented then the gullible pregnant ladies would start eating excessive quantities of ( white ) bread in order to obtain equivalently high quantities of folic acid. By doing so more and more quantities of ALLOXAN would enter and accumulate into their bodies. This may end up in showing frightening results : The mother and the new-born would both might become diabetic. In fact the consumption of white bread by the pregnant or lactating mothers should be discouraged through excessive advertisements by print, view, and electronic media. A statutory warning on the bread wrapper needs to be printed with the message : “THIS BREAD CONTAINS ALLOXAN : ITS CONSUMPTION MAY TURN YOU DIABETIC”. The best way to help the pregnant and to-be-pregnant mothers would be to start an aggressive nation-wide campaign of door-to-door distribution of folic acid tablets free of charge. After all only a healthy new-born generation can provide a healthy nation.
  • (Posted on June 29, 2007, 5:45 am G. S. JOHAR)

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