Pre-Pregnancy | Fit Pregnancy


Birth Control Pills


It will likely take several months for your body to resume ovulation and a normal menstrual cycle after stopping your oral contraceptives, which means you probably wont get pregnant right away. But even if you do conceive immediately after discontinuing your pills, the hormones will not be present in your body at a level that would be a problem for your baby.

Nicotine Patches


First off, congratulations on giving up smoking. The hazards of tobacco use during pregnancy--including low birth weight and preterm labor--are well-established. There has not been a great deal of research done about the safety of nicotine-replacement products in pregnant women. I therefore agree with the majority of physicians who vigorously recommend that smoking-cessation products such as gum and patches be discontinued during pregnancy.

Periodontal Disease


Yes. Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that is associated with preterm delivery. Researchers hypothesize that the infection may raise levels of prostaglandin and cytokine, both of which may contribute to an increase in uterine contractions. A study reported in the Journal of Periodontology, led by Marjorie K. Jeffcoat, D.M.D., dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found that scaling and root planing, a nonsurgical procedure, resulted in a large decrease in preterm births for pregnant patients with periodontal disease.

Quit Smoking Safely


While the patch and other nicotine-replacement products are generally considered OK to use during pregnancy, their absolute safety has not been confirmed. As such, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women try to stop smoking via other means before turning to these products. You might, for instance, work with a therapist who specializes in smoking cessation or find a "smoking buddy" you can turn to for support and encouragement.

Ectopic Pregnancies


An ectopic, or "tubal," pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg becomes implanted in an area other than the uterus. Ectopics occur in one of the two fallopian tubes 95 percent of the time; these cases usually are due to scarring from an earlier pelvic infection or inflammation. The remaining 5 percent occur on an ovary or, rarely, elsewhere in the abdominal cavity.

Chickenpox and Pregnancy


Contracting chickenpox during pregnancy can have serious effects on a fetus, so it is best to know your immune status prior to conceiving. Immunity can be conferred in two ways: either by having had the illness or by being vaccinated against it. If you are uncertain whether you are immune to chickenpox, a simple blood test can tell.

A Pregnancy That Isn't


A blighted ovum occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. So even though the body's baby-making machinery is in place--an egg has been fertilized, a gestational sac and placenta are forming, and symptoms of pregnancy may be occurring--the embryo itself stops growing. Experts aren't sure why, but they suspect that chromosomal abnormalities may be the primary cause.

I Used an Egg Donor

My husband, Paul, and I launched Operation Procreation in perhaps the least romantic spot in the Southern Hemisphere: the windowless room of a $10-a-night hostel in Chile, decorated with faux oak paneling, brown industrial carpeting, a blinding overhead fluorescent light and, on the night table, a statue of the Virgin Mary. Paul was so creeped out by the stained, scratchy bed sheets that as I undressed, he disappeared, fully clothed, into his sleeping bag.

Preconception Checklist

See your doctor several months before you want to conceive—and bring your partner. Doing so may help you prevent birth defects, pregnancy complications or prematurity, the March of Dimes reports.

Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies that you are taking.

Begin taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid daily.

Get Healthy, Get Pregnant

Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that women who adopted at least five healthy habits were 84 percent less likely to suffer infertility because of ovulation problems than women who followed none. Women were more likely to ovulate normally when they ate less trans fat and simple carbohydrates, such as white rice and white bread; got more protein from vegetables than from meat; ate more fiber and iron; took more multivitamins with folic acid; had a lower body mass index; and exercised daily. They also consumed more high-fat dairy products and fewer low-fat ones.