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Many women have questions about how they can make sure they are healthy during pregnancy. A preconception counseling visit with your OB-GYN is a great way to make sure your health is optimized before conceiving as well as identifying any major health risks that could impact a pregnancy.

A preconception visit will touch on many aspects of overall health, including maintaining a healthy weight, normal blood pressure, and well-balanced diet high in nutrients.

Exercise as an Important Part of Pregnancy Planning

Exercise should be a part of your regular routine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women maintain an active lifestyle by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. Examples include: brisk walking, jogging, dancing or hiking. If you do not regularly exercise, start off slow and discuss a plan with your doctor who can safely guide you.

Your OBGYN may recommend a few blood tests which will check for anemia and vaccination status. If you or your partner have any significant medical history or family history, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, blood work before getting pregnant can identify these traits. You may or may not want to speak to a genetic counselor for a thorough consultation before trying to get pregnant.

Prenatal Vitamins & Nutrition

Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before you get pregnant can help to prevent neural tube defects and make sure that your baby gets all of the nutrition that it needs. Many women have questions about which prenatal vitamin they should take.

Most vitamins have sufficient quantities of vitamins A, C and D. Your prenatal vitamin should have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Ultimately, the majority of your vitamins and minerals should come from your diet. The US Department of Agriculture that has a special link, Choose My Plate, for moms and moms-to-be to make sure that all of your nutritional needs in pregnancy are met.

The Zika Virus & Pregnancy

Traveling to areas where Zika is endemic (regularly found) is not recommended at this time for women who are currently pregnant.

If you are planning to get pregnant, and you or your partner are planning to travel to these areas, the recommended guidelines are to avoid conception for up to 8 weeks. If you or your partner have signs or symptoms of the illness, this period may extend up to 6 months before your doctor says it is ok to try to plan pregnancy. There is still so much that is unknown about the Zika virus, and new information gathered will help to shape our recommendations in the future. The CDC will have the most updated guidelines regarding travel advisories and will be a great resource to you during this time.

Planning a pregnancy can be a very exciting time in one’s life. Your OBGYN can help to answer any questions you may have during this time and make sure that you and your baby will have healthy start.

About Chantel Roedner, MD

Dr. Chantel Roedner joined WakeMed Physician Practices as an OB/GYN after completing her residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earning her Medical Degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Her clinical interests include high risk obstetrics, infertility, minimally invasive gynecological surgery including robotic surgery, well woman care and contraception.

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Chantel Roedner MD