Facts Your Doctor Needs to Know When You become Pregnant
When you plan your pregnancy and meet with the doctor for the first time, they will want to get a clear picture of your nutritional and lifestyle habits, in order to provide your baby with every chance of having a healthy development and a successful birth.
The most common information your doctor will need to know include:
1. Your Typical Diet: Generally your doctor will ask you to complete a review questionnaire before your first visit to give them a full picture of your nutritional history. Depending on your diet and lifestyle profile, your doctor may refer you to other health professionals for guidance.
2. Your Substance use (if any) such as cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs affect your intake of an adequate and balanced diet. They also pose direct health risks to your baby’s development.
3. Food Avoidances, Special Diets, Skipping Meals: These habits may cause nutritional deficiencies in your baby and lead to an inadequate weight gain during pregnancy.
4. Eating Disorders: If you suffer from or have suffered in the past, from any disorders such as bulimia or anorexia for example, your fertility may be affected or aggravated by pregnancy or even complicate your coming pregnancy. Bulimia may have affected your teeth enamel and enlarged the parotid glands while anorexia causes interruption in the regularity of your menstrual cycle.
5. History of Bariatric Surgery: If you have had this surgery previously, your obstetrician needs to know as this can affect the management of your pregnancy.
6. Folic Acid: Supplementation of folic acid will be recommended by your obstetrician as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects in your baby. They will also discuss the necessity of iodine and zinc and increasing your iron and calcium levels via your diet, or with supplements if they think it necessary. These minerals are vital building blocks for your baby’s healthy growth and bone and blood development.
7. Physical Examination: Your obstetrician will weigh and measure your height to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) and assess whether you are currently at a healthy weight and what your expected weight gain should be throughout each trimester of pregnancy.
8. Current Physical condition: Your doctor will use the physical examination to check you out for any signs of nutritional deficiency (vitamin deficiency for instance) or medical disease that might impact on your pregnancy.
9. Use of Vitamin, Mineral or Herbal Supplements: If you have been a regular user of any of these, you will need to let your doctor know because excessive intake of particular vitamins, ( such as Vitamin A) while the lack of safety and efficacy studies of various herbal remedies or infusions in pregnant or breastfeeding women, compels doctors to advise discontinuing their use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
10. Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy, Food Cravings and Aversions: Read more about Good Pregnancy Nutrition in Part 2.