Pre-Conception Preparation for a Healthy Pregnancy

Becoming an expectant parent can be a very exciting and also very overwhelming. As a physician and mother, Dr. Aragona understands the flood of emotions and is passionate about supporting women as they get ready for conception. She shares certain things that you can do to prepare for a healthy and hopefully uncomplicated pregnancy way before you even conceive.

By Dr. Erika Aragona, MD

Transcript

Hi, I’m Dr. Erika Aragona, and I’m a board certified family medicine physician with a special emphasis on women’s health and preventive medicine, which is why I’m super excited to be pairing with HER Health Collective to be talking to you about women’s health needs. It’s a passion of mine ever since it became a mom. And I’m really excited to be on this journey with you.

 

So today, I’m going to be talking about ways that you can prepare for a healthy and hopefully uncomplicated pregnancy way before you even conceive. And HER Health Collective has an awesome video that already talks about lifestyle and reducing stress and the holistic approach to preparing for a normal and healthy and happy pregnancy. And I really encourage you to check that video out.

 

So on top of that, I’m now going to be discussing certain things that you can do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Well, keeping in line with your physician and your overall plan.

Keep in mind that you can take these tips and plan ahead of time and ease the stress and anxiety that you might experience wondering what to do after you've become pregnant.

- Dr. Erika Aragona

So first and foremost, you want to be up to date on your medical care. Having a routine screening, including bloodwork can check for things like anemia, diabetes, or even thyroid disorder, and all of those can really affect your pregnancy. So how great would it be to know that they exist and have proper treatment, and really good control of those conditions before getting pregnant?

 

I know when I first got pregnant, everything I learned in med school kind of went out the window. And I was all over the place emotionally because I was a new expectant mother, and all the training all of the medical lingo got really overwhelming. So I have a passion to teach other women how to prepare, because it can be so much we know this is a super exciting time in your life. And we’re here to help you as physicians, but it can be a lot and really, really overwhelming. So if you have any questions, it’s really good to form a great support group with your physician, other friends, other moms, people who can give you great advice to prepare and to know what to expect.

 

So that jumps into my second point. And what I really wanted to talk to you today about is preventive medicine, being up to date on things like your Pap smear, or your mammogram if you would be due for those to screen for pre cancer or cancer. Reason being it’s much easier and safer to treat previous pregnancy than during pregnancy. And it also eases that stress. If you’ve had those screenings know your body is healthy, so you can focus on the journey of your pregnancy.

 

Another thing that I love to talk to patients about is optimizing their current health, right? And its lifestyle, so much of what you can do is reducing your stress, decreasing your emotional burden. Pregnancy is a whole journey on its own and filled with ups and downs, and things that you’ve never experienced or expected before. And I know that as a mom, but how wonderful is it to take control of your health before that journey even begins. So that’s doing things like having proper nutrition, exercising regularly, so your body’s conditioned. So you can continue healthy exercise during pregnancy. Being healthy prior to conception can really help you and your baby along a healthy journey.

 

And then we want to talk about medications. Right? I get tons of questions about this all the time in my practice. Is it safe to start a medicine? Do I need to stop a medication? Do I need to change something in the middle of my pregnancy or before I even get pregnant? What do we do? And honestly, every single woman is different. The best advice I can give is to have a wonderful relationship with your doctor and talk to them from the very beginning. We love to encourage prenatal multivitamins a couple of months before you conceive. And that can help get that folic acid in your body to help the baby spinal cord develop properly.

 

But what about medicines if you need a medicine, I don’t want you to be afraid to take it. There are healthy, safe choices to start before pregnancy so your body can adjust to them. After you then become pregnant, you’re already used to them. If you need to start a medication during pregnancy, it’s completely safe to do so as long as you’ve checked with your doctor.

 

But keep in mind that you can take these tips and plan ahead of time and ease the stress and anxiety that you might experience wondering what to do after you’ve become pregnant. How wonderful would that be to have a healthy, safe pregnancy that you’ve prepared for? And if you have other questions, feel free to check out more on her health collective with amazing information, advice and support because here you have a fantastic community.

Dr. Erika Aragona is a dual board-certified family medicine physician with a focus on preventive medicine and women’s health. In addition to a full time practice, she serves as adjunct faculty at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine where she teaches women’s health. She holds an additional degree of a Bachelor of Arts in English, and has used her experience in medical and creative writing to publish a book, A Certain Innocence, as well as author several pieces in national journals including Medscape, The DO, KevinMD and Alpha Phi International. She serves as an expert physician consultant with appearances on national television and social media and writes articles and produces videos for multiple health and wellness companies. Her passion is making medicine cheerful, and with her website, dr-erika.com, she highlights female entrepreneurs as well as discusses positive aspects of medicine.

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