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Seven ways to prepare for pregnancy

 Robaab Siddiqui, MD, OB/GYN, Edward Medical Group
Robaab Siddiqui, MD

You and your partner hope to start a family within the next two years. You're already talking about baby names and how you'd set up the nursery. It's fun to think about those things, even if you are a bit ahead of the game. But as a potential mom-to-be it's not too soon to take stock of your health and lifestyle habits.

"If you're healthy, you have a much greater chance of a healthy pregnancy," says Robaab Siddiqui, MD, an OB/GYN with the Edward Medical Group in Naperville and Plainfield. She offers the following tips for preparing for pregnancy:

1. Get back to basics. Eat balanced meals featuring extra protein and more limited carbohydrates. Include green, leafy vegetables. Enjoy a healthy snack in the morning and afternoon. Supplement your diet with an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin containing folic acid. Exercise regularly.

2. Tackle obesity. Obesity affects your hormones, making it more difficult to conceive. It also increases the chance of problems during pregnancy, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If your BMI (body mass index) is 30 or above, ask your doctor about diet and exercise programs that might help.

3. Go fish, but only weekly. To limit mercury consumption, eat fish no more than weekly. Avoid sushi.

4. Know your history. If you are at least 35 or have a personal or family history of a genetic disorder, you may want to talk with your doctor about genetic testing. Some tests can be done in your doctor's office, or ask for a referral to a genetic counselor.

5. Skip the wine. It's recommended that women avoid alcohol if they're pregnant or might be pregnant.

6. A good time to quit smoking. Find a good smoking cessation program. Smoking increases the chance of complications during pregnancy, and it doubles the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby.

7. Check in with your doctor. Make an appointment with your primary care physician or OB/GYN before trying to get pregnant, especially if you have any chronic medical conditions, such as depression. Discuss whether your medications would be safe during pregnancy. Sometimes safer, alternative medications are available.

Dr. Siddiqui is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call (630) 961-9485 or watch her video at http://www.edward.org/robaabsiddiquimd.


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