What Every Woman Should Know to Reduce Your Risk of Pregnancy Complications
What should I do before we start “trying?”
If you’re planning to start or expand your family, don’t underestimate the importance of regular prenatal visits with your physician. These visits provide valuable information that can prepare you and your child for a healthy birth.
What is prenatal care?
“Prenatal care allows a woman to get an assessment of her overall health,” said Henry Galan, MD, Chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital. “Through these consultations, we can determine if a patient has any underlying conditions that might potentially impact the pregnancy and look for ways to reduce the risk for complications.”
What should I discuss with my doctor?
Prenatal visits should cover the following topics:
· Diet.Most of the extra vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy can be obtained through a well-balanced diet. Certain vitamins — such as iron and folic acid — should be provided through supplements.
· Exercise.While many pregnant women can participate in moderate-intensity activities for 30 minutes most days of the week, Dr. Galan advises physical activity levels may be required to change during pregnancy.
· Smoking. Activities such as smoking and alcohol consumption should be stopped immediately.
· Travel. Expectant mothers should walk around for about 10 minutes every one to two hours during long road trips or flights to avoid problems with poor circulation and clot formation.
· Viability and health of the pregnancy. An ultrasound can ensure the pregnancy is progressing properly.
· Weight gain. A healthy woman should gain 25 – 30 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women should gain less, while underweight women should gain more. Your physician can make an individualized recommendation based on your health.
“A woman’s needs change during pregnancy, and she can take a number of steps to help promote the health of herself and her baby,” Dr. Galan said. “Regular prenatal visits give mothers an opportunity to have any questions and concerns addressed so they can feel confident throughout their pregnancy.”
Advanced Care for High-Risk Pregnancies
Prenatal care is especially important for high-risk pregnant women and their babies because of the increased risk of birth defects or complications due to a mother or baby’s specific history. Medical advances allow for diagnosis and treatment of certain medical conditions before a baby is born, as well as identification of babies in need of immediate intervention after birth.
Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital recently established the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health, which will bring unsurpassed care to our region’s moms and babies. A newly constructed Maternal Fetal Care Unit at Children’s Colorado provides a special delivery space for babies needing highly specialized surgical care in the first 72 hours of life. This means that some mothers carrying high-risk babies may receive their outpatient care and ultimately deliver at Children’s Colorado. University of Colorado Hospital will continue treating other serious neonatal conditions and high-risk mothers while also offering its routine labor and delivery services to more than 3,000 families each year.
For more information about the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health, please call (720) 848-1060.