Pre-Pregnancy | Fit Pregnancy

Pre-Pregnancy

Periodontal Disease

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

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

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

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-Pregnancy-That-Isnt

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.

Finding Folic Acid Made Easier

Neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida have declined 26 percent in the decade since federal officials required food manufacturers to begin supplementing grain products with folic acid, the synthetic form of folate. Consuming at least 400 micrograms of this B vitamin daily before conception and in the early weeks of pregnancy helps prevent the defects. To mark the 10th anniversary of the federal mandate, the March of Dimes and the Grain Foods Foundation teamed up to create a seal that helps consumers identify the fortified foods.

U.S. Maternity Benefits Lag

If you're getting paid while on maternity leave, consider yourself lucky: Out of 173 countries worldwide, the United States is one of only five that don't guarantee paid leave to give birth and care for a newborn, according to a study by researchers at Harvard and McGill universities.

"It's dramatically striking that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world," says lead researcher Jody Heymann, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill in Montreal, Quebec. "Every industrialized country offers paid leave. So can the United States."

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