Prenatal Care Begins Pre-Pregnancy
Many couples scheme and plot the best time to have a baby, considering the optimal financial timing, the most successful spacing of siblings, and the intertwining of family careers. They make calendars and coordinate rendezvouses. Others don't plan to that exact a degree, but enter a generally acceptable period of time during which conception is neither aggressively sought nor prohibited--the more romantic, but "living dangerously" approach.
Still others get the rug pulled out from under them when, in spite of their best efforts, fate steps in with an amazing feat of fertility. Not everyone, therefore, can predict exactly when conception will occur. Even the plotting and scheming couple may be surprised when all of the tumblers don't line up the right way on that one month circled on their calendar. Obstetrically speaking, the best prenatal care begins before conception. And if most can't exactly determine when that will happen, the safest way is to stay prepared, to modify one's lifestyle during fertile times as if pregnancy could happen at any time.
Keeping up with visits to an obstetrician-gynecologist is equally important as keeping in good health. Your physician can check that there are no problems with anatomy prior to pregnancy, and your continued good health from a good diet and adequate exercise are self-explanatory. Besides performing a careful and complete physical exam, your doctor will also determine whether your metabolism is in synch for conception. For example, periods that drag on can be a sign that the first half of the cycle is faulty, while periods that are unduly delayed can indicate that there is a problem with the second half of the cycle--not to mention falsely teasing a couple into thinking that they might be pregnant. These situations can be treated, so that a woman can be in the best possible condition before the actual fertilization of an egg.
Recent studies have shown that the extra ingredients in prenatal vitamins, started a few cycles before conception, can lower the risk of genetic problems and miscarriage. Many researchers feel that when a woman ovulates, the egg's journey to the ovary's surface actually began three cycles earlier. This certainly makes one stop and think about what may have been eaten, consumed, or inhaled over the previous quarter year. Men, too, have to understand that prior exposure to dangerous substances can affect the ultimate sperm produced. Knowing this, beginning the specially formulated prenatal vitamins three months before conception begins to make a lot of sense.
A woman should begin taking good care of her baby before there is a baby--by taking care of her eggs. A man needs to take good care of his sperm, also. When one thinks about this, shouldn't we all be taking good care of ourselves all of the time? Should there really be a difference?