Now that we have officially entered 2021, many women are returning to the goals and resolutions they set for themselves in 2020, including pregnancy. And for good reason. 2021 – probably more than any year previously – represents renewed possibility after the hardships so many of us faced during 2020, and what better way to represent that than giving birth?
Of course, pregnancy requires planning, and that is no different in 2021. Pregnancy preparation is arguably more important now than it has ever been thanks to the continued spread of COVID-19. If getting pregnant is one of your New Year’s resolutions, take a moment to read through these important process reminders, and make sure to consider our preconception counseling services, which will help you with the journey.
See A Doctor
Unlike more conventional New Year’s resolutions – losing weight, starting a new hobby, saving more money – getting pregnant is not something you should enter lightly. Before doing anything else, speak with your physician to determine whether having a baby is the healthiest choice for you currently. There are multiple medical risks associated with pregnancy, and it can also aggravate any underlying conditions you may have. (Bonus: talking to your physician beforehand could reveal an underlying condition you weren’t aware of previously.) Your doctor will determine whether pregnancy is a viable health option for you; once that process is complete, you can begin your action plan to either get pregnant or improve your wellbeing, so pregnancy becomes a more viable option. In either case, it is the ideal way to begin a 2021 pregnancy resolution.
The COVID-19 Vaccine
There has been a lot of discussion about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine. There are a few things to consider. For starters, pregnant women were not included in the clinical trials, so there is no concrete information to share regarding safety concerns. However, a few women who received the trial vaccine did eventually become pregnant, and there have been no reports of any health issues with those pregnancies.
The current two COVID-19 vaccines (from Pfizer and Moderna) are of the mRNA variety, which means they do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and, consequently, will not give anyone the disease. According to the CDC, the vaccines are unlikely to pose a specific risk for someone who is pregnant or hoping to get pregnant. They also note the added benefit of receiving the vaccine before pregnancy because COVID-19 can introduce severe health risks that are more complex and serious during pregnancy.
In general, vaccinations without live viruses are recommended at every stage of pregnancy, including preconception, during pregnancy, and right after delivery. Getting the right vaccinations at the appropriate moment will help you have a healthy pregnancy and keep your baby from getting sick or having lifelong health problems. All questions should be directed to your physician.
Preconception is a major part of the pregnancy process, but the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to make it successful. So much of healthy childbirth centers on our choices and behaviors. Forming positive new habits is not only a proactive way to prepare for pregnancy while you continue to work with your doctor and follow their recommendations, but they also align with common New Year’s resolutions, so you will end up checking quite a few boxes here.
Here is a list of preconception tips:
Maintain a healthy weight.
Prepare your body for conception by keeping your weight in check with diet and exercise. People who are obese or nearly obese encounter serious risks during pregnancy – for themselves as well as their baby. Underweight people are also at risk because they often lack important nutrients. Determine the healthiest weight for your age group and work toward meeting that goal. A BMI of less than 30 is associated with decreased risks.
No drugs or alcohol.
Using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy presents a tremendous risk to your health and your baby’s health. If you are the kind of person who likes to indulge from time to time, start cutting back now so it is easier during pregnancy. Things like fetal alcohol syndrome can have a lifelong impact on your baby.
Like drugs and alcohol, smoking cigarettes is discouraged while pregnant. Vaping presents similar risks. The risk of complication for you or your baby increases dramatically when you smoke, so we recommend seeking assistance with smoking cessation well beforehand. Not only will this improve your pregnancy, but it will improve your life in general. Smoking is not recommended for anyone, pregnant or otherwise.
Limit your stress.
For some people, getting pregnant is not easy. Having stress adds extra layers of anxiety and emotion around the process. After all, pregnancy should be a happy thing, so if you are dealing with any extra stress or anxiety, try things like acupuncture, yoga, or meditation to find calmness. Make sure to get enough sleep, set routine sleeping habits, and avoid situations that increase stressful emotions.
Learn your family medical history.
Your doctor will likely have lots of questions regarding this subject, so make sure you are up to date with all the information. This process might even reveal situations that you didn’t know before – maybe your grandmother has a heart defect she doesn’t discuss, or maybe an uncle you don’t see often has an autoimmune disorder. Whatever the case, this is important stuff for you and your doctor to understand.
Bring your medical records to our office.
If you have a medical condition, there is a high likelihood we are going to want specific information to give you the best advice. Your past medical records with your doctor’s past assessments, labs, and imaging studies are critical for us to help provide you with timely advice. This is one of the most important ways you can help us assist you in getting the best advice and reducing costs from reordering of tests and imaging studies.
Follow these steps and you will be more likely to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. The High Risk Pregnancy Center is here to discuss any and all questions you might have, so feel free to contact us at 702-602-8656 or click here to schedule a counseling session with one of our experts.