You are here and it feels right. You think that babies might be on the horizon. Well, we are here to make the journey as smooth as possible for you.
Did you know it’s recommended to take folate before you even fall pregnant? Or that it’s not safe to take Ibuprofen (eg. Nurofen or Advil) during pregnancy?
If you're planning a pregnancy, it's best to see your GP about 3 months prior for a pre-conception check-up. If you've just found out you're pregnant, book in with your GP as soon as possible.
Book a long appointment, here's what you can expect to happen:
Your GP will take a detailed medical history. Certain medical conditions need special consideration during, or in the lead up to pregnancy. You may need to see your specialist, take different supplements, adjust your medication dose, or change medications altogether. Any issues in previous pregnancies, or a family history of congenital or genetic disease can also affect your management and the type of screening that is recommended.
Many medicines are not safe to be taken during pregnancy, including Ibuprofen (Neurofen) and some acne/anti-ageing creams. Discuss every medication you are using (tablets, puffers, drops, patches, creams, etc.) and find out whether it is safe to continue during pregnancy, or whether you will need to change to something else. Some medications need to be slowly reduced before changing to something else. Recreational drugs including tobacco and alcohol are not recommended and can cause serious pregnancy complications. Your doctor may ask about your current use, and can help you cut back or quit.
Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, so it's a good idea to have a check-up in order to know what your baseline measurements are. An examination may involve checking your heart, blood pressure, breasts, weight, height, and BMI.
A simple blood test will check your immunity to vaccine-preventable illnesses as well as screen for STIs and infections that can impact a pregnancy, often in combination with a urine test. If you're at risk of certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, these can also be checked at the same time.
Making sure you are up to date with your cervical screening (pap smear) and immunisations will help prevent complications during pregnancy. Some immunisations that are recommended for pregnancy cannot actually be given once you're pregnant, so find out if you need them at least a month before-hand. Book an oral health check up with your dentist too.
Iodine, folic acid, and vitamin D are recommended for all women during pregnancy, however the dose will depend on your medical history. Your GP will be able to tell you what doses you should be taking. Some women may also be advised additional supplements depending on certain risk factors or blood levels.
Pregnancy supplements are not one-size-fits-all
Even over-the-counter medicines can be unsafe for pregnancy
Some immunisations recommended for pregnancy can't be given once you’re pregnant
See your GP for a check-up three months before you plan on falling pregnant
Finally, do not underestimate the importance of relaxing, taking care of yourself and enjoying your everyday life and the people around you.
Dr Ebony Tosch is a Sydney GP practicing full-time at the Gordon Medical Centre in the North Shore suburb of Gordon. Passionate about women's health and children's health, Dr Tosch spends time advocating for her patients' needs and setting up an Infusion Clinic at her practice to increase accessibility. She also welcomes maternity shared care arrangements, family planning, and has an interest in treating eating disorders. To make an appointment with Dr Tosch, call 94999999 or visit www.gordonmedical.com.au/book-an-appointment .
The advice in this article is of a general nature where specific advice to conditions should only be seek from your doctor. If this article brings out certain feelings in you regarding pregnancy, please talk to your GP immediately. Difficulties in pregnancy and other circumstances, are also an area that you should certainly consult your GP about.