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Pregnancy - Existing Health Problems

You now have your nutritional intake on track, but there are plenty of other factors to consider before you become pregnant. You have a lot to think about, including your health-care provider, fertility, lifestyle changes, current health problems, and family history. Planning ahead and being prepared can be the formula for a less complicated and safer pregnancy.

If you are currently being treated for a chronic health problem such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, systemic lupus, seizure disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, heart problems, migraines, or any other condition, you should speak with your doctor before you try to conceive to understand how your health could affect your pregnancy. Your doctor may need to refer you to a specialist and/or change or eliminate certain medications to reduce any possible risk to the fetus. You may have to be much more vigilant about managing your condition and make sure your condition is well under control before you become pregnant.

In addition, you should ensure that all regular medical screening is up to date before you try to conceive. This may include annual pap smears, mammograms (for women over thirty-five), cholesterol screening, and diabetic screening. This should include your partner also. Making sure you are both healthy before you try to conceive can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Your Family History

Some conditions or diseases are genetic, recurring throughout some family histories. Examples include hemophilia (a blood disorder), sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, thalassemia (or Cooley's anemia), celiac disease, Gaucher disease, Canavan disease, Niemann-Pick disease, and some birth defects. If you or your partner has a family history of a significant genetic disorder, and you suspect that either of you may be a carrier, then genetic testing may be advised. A carrier does not necessarily have the disorder but does carry a gene that could be passed on to the next generation. You should discuss your concerns with your doctor or health-care provider before you get pregnant.

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