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PRECONCEPTION

Thinking About Pregnancy?
 
We hope that this handout will assist you during this exciting time in your life.  Below are some recommendations and answers to frequently asked questions.  If there are any other details that you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call the office at 315-478-1158.
 
Fertile Window:
Your most fertile time depends on the length of your cycle.  If you typically menstruate every 28 days, you can anticipate that you will ovulate on the fourteenth day (start to number the days with the first day of bleeding).  Your fertile window usually begins about 5 days before ovulation through the day of ovulation, with the most fertile day occurring a day or two prior to ovulation.  Daily intercourse during this fertile time will increase your chances of getting pregnant.  Please schedule an appointment if you are interested in learning more about your fertile window, temperature charting, interpreting changes in vaginal discharge, or using ovulation predictor kits.
 
Diet/Habits:
It is important to follow a healthy well-rounded diet to increase your chances of conception.  Recent studies have shown that fish intake should be limited during pregnancy.  This is especially important in regards to predator fish (mackerel, tuna, tile fish, swordfish, and shark), but other fish should not be consumed more than 2 times per week.  Lunch meats, hot dogs, and soft cheeses (such as feta, brie, and Camembert) can contain a harmful bacterium to pregnant women and their developing fetuses.  Thus the intake of these foods should also be limited. You should always thoroughly cook meats, wash raw vegetables prior to eating, and wash hands and utensils after handling uncooked foods. 
 
You should abstain from smoking and alcohol use, and try to limit your caffeine intake.  In addition, it is recommended that you take at least 400 mcg of Folic Acid for at least 3 months prior to conception.  This is best obtained with a prenatal vitamin, which are available both by prescription or over-the-counter.  This will prevent 60% of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Check with your doctor about any prescription medications, vitamins, or herbs you are taking.
 
Weight Status Weight Gain (poinds)
Underweight 28-40
Normal weight 25-35
Overweight 15-25
Obese At least 15
Carrying twins 35-45
Start your pregnancy off at a healthy weight.
The expected weight gain in pregnancy is
shown in the table.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pets:
If you have a cat, you should avoid changing the litter box during your pregnancy.  Cat feces can harbor an infection called Toxoplasmosis that can be very dangerous to your developing fetus.
 
Immunizations:
It is a good idea to make sure your immunizations are up to date prior to trying to conceive.  If you have not had chickenpox, your doctor can do a blood test to see if you are immune.  A vaccination is available but cannot be given once you are pregnant. The hospital is now giving booster tetanus shots after delivery if needed. It would be helpful to check your status to make sure you are up to date.
 
Exercise:
A healthy lifestyle is always important, especially at this critical time in your life.  If you already exercise regularly, you should continue to do so.  If you have any health problems, you should consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
 
About the Women's Wellness Place:
If you miss a period or have a positive home pregnancy test, you should contact the office for an appointment.  You will see Dr. Weinstein, Dr. Dalpe, or Mary Lou D’Amico NP for an initial visit at approx. 8 weeks from the first day of your last period to confirm the pregnancy with a sonogram and discuss any questions or concern you may have.  During the pregnancy, you will alternate seeing the three physicians or Nurse Practitioner at regularly scheduled appointments.  The delivery will occur at Crouse Hospital. The hospital offers birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, parenting classes, and a tour of labor and delivery.  These classes can be arranged during your pregnancy.
We wish you good luck and the best of health.  Please feel free to contact the office with any questions or to arrange a preconceptual counseling session. 
                                                       
 - Dr. Chantell Dalpe, Dr. Melissa Weinstein, and Mary Lou D’Amico, NP    
 
Omega-3 Fatty Acids During Pregnancy
 

It’s very important for pregnant moms to eat a healthy diet. During pregnancy, your baby gets many of the nutrients she needs from the foods you eat and the vitamins you take. One of the essential nutrients moms need is omega-3 fatty acids.

 

 
Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are three major omega-3 fatty acids:
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)                                      
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Each omega-3 fatty acid performs different functions.  ALA is the parent omega-3 and cannot be produced by the body. It must be gotten through foods such as walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans. Our bodies can convert small amounts of ALA into EPA and then into DHA, but this process is not efficient. Research shows that the body converts only 5 to 10 percent of ALA into EPA and even less into DHA.
 
The best way to get enough EPA and DHA is to eat foods rich in these important nutrients. But only a few foods contain DHA and EPA. Fatty fish and organ meats (such as calf’s liver) are the primary dietary sources.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

 
Adults
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve a person’s health. Studies show that omega-3s, specifically DHA and EPA, lower blood pressure and help us maintain heart health. EPA and DHA also help reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and clogged arteries. They may reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes. DHA is also important to brain health throughout life.
 
During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
For pregnant and nursing women, omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are important for the health of mom and baby. DHA is the most common omega-3 in the brain and eyes. It helps to support a baby’s brain and eye development and function. Women should get at least 200 milligrams of DHA every day
 
How to Get Omega-3 Fatty Acids
DHA and EPA omega-3s can be found in fatty fish, algae oil, fish oil and certain fortified foods such as milk, juice, bread   and yogurt. But pregnant moms need to be careful about the kinds of fish they eat. Some fish are high in mercury, which can harm an unborn baby. Other fish and seafoods are safe when eaten in recommended amounts (no more than 12oz/week). ALA can be found in walnuts, flaxseeds and vegetable oils like canola, soybean and olive oil.
 
Fish are sources of DHA because of what they eat in the wild. Farm-raised fish may not contain DHA unless they are fed a diet rich in DHA.
 
Expecting moms can safely eat up to a total of 12 ounces per week of salmon, herring, sardines or fresh-water trout. These wild fish are good sources of DHA (and EPA) and can help pregnant women get enough DHA. Women can also get DHA from albacore tuna (white tuna), but should limit themselves to just 6 ounces per week of this fish during pregnancy. Women who do not want to eat fish can look for vegetarian sources of DHA, such as fortified foods.
 
If you’re not getting enough DHA from food, another option is to take a supplement containing at least 200 mg of DHA. Several prenatal supplements include DHA, either from fish oil or other sources. As with all supplements, talk to your health provider beforehand to make sure this choice is right for you.
 
February 2009
Article provided by the March of Dimes @http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/159_55030.asp
Funding for this article was provided in part by Martek. The March of Dimes does not endorse specific brands or products




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