Monday, March 15, 2010

Guest Post: Planning a Pregnancy

Jeanene Traynor, WHNP-BC submitted this guest post on planning a pregnancy. Jeanene works in our office, providing obstetrical care, gynecology services including preconceptional counseling, and minor procedures. Preconceptional counseling is simply a way of optimizing your chances of getting pregnant as well as improving the liklihood of a healthy pregnancy.



For a woman to become pregnant, one of her eggs must unite with a man's sperm at just the right time. The egg will be released from the ovary and travel through the fallopian tube. The man's sperm should join the egg during this journey. This means that during intercourse, he will ejaculate and his sperm will travel up through the vagina, cervix, uterus to the fallopian tube, where the egg and sperm unite. The fertilized egg continues to travel, attaching itself to the inside of the uterus. Here the fertilized egg will embed, and continue to grow.

Lifestyle changes for women that will improve pregnancy outcomes include a healthy diet, some form of exercise and eliminating unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and some prescribed medications.

Each month, a woman having regular intercourse has a 20 - 25% chance of pregnancy. Most couples conceive within one year of unprotected, regular intercourse.

If you are planning to become pregnant, it is good to be up to date on your gynecologic exams and immunizations. A pre-conception appointment is always a good idea; lifestyle changes, medications and nutrition can be discussed at this appointment. Prenatal vitamins can be started three months or so before a pregnancy is planned.

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