Pregnancy and fertility are significant issues for any woman who wants to have children. At Peoria Women’s Health, we understand and want to help make your experience as healthful and positive as possible. We work with you pre-pregnancy to create a customized plan and provide you with information and support every step of the way.
If you and your partner are experiencing problems getting pregnant, consult with our fertility specialists. Your worries may be needless, but if not, we are here to help. One of any number of conditions may be preventing you from conceiving. For women, these include:
- Advanced liver or kidney disease
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Uterine fibroid tumors
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
In addition, some of the causes of infertility in men include:
- Thyroid disorders
- Genetic defects
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Low sperm count
We work with you as a couple to identify and address contributing factors to infertility so that you have a better chance of becoming parents sooner rather than later.
Your Pregnancy Health Plan
Every woman is different, and so is every pregnancy. That is why we work with you to design a unique pregnancy health plan that recognizes your individuality.
The best time to get started is when you and your partner make the decision to conceive. You should meet with one of our obstetricians to discuss strategies that prepare you for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Then, once you do conceive, you will already have built the basis for trust with an OB/GYN who will see you through the next nine months or so.
Your OB/GYN will care for both you and your baby during a regular schedule of appointments, monitoring your child’s heartbeat, growth and health while coaching you through the milestones of pregnancy. Some of the items that your pregnancy plan will address include:
- Pre-natal nutrition and vitamins
- Tracking your weight gain for a healthy pregnancy
- Monitoring your baby’s heart rate
- Following your child’s growth
- Testing such as ultrasound and blood tests
- Planning for the birth
- Post-natal follow-up
Pregnancy Risk Management
If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes, an autoimmune disease like lupus or if you are pregnant for the first time after age 35, your OB/GYN will typically treat your pregnancy as high risk. Also, if you are carrying more than one baby, your doctor may make adjustments in your pregnancy plan accordingly.
Some women develop a temporary condition such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy. If you are one of those women, your OB/GYN will help you make the dietary and behavioral changes you need to successfully progress to full term.
Other factors that put your baby’s health at risk during gestation are smoking, drug addiction or alcohol abuse. Mothers who smoke are at a greater risk of delivering a low birth weight infant. Abusing drugs or alcohol while you are pregnant can cause your child to have ongoing physical issues for years after birth. Your obstetrician can help with information, advice and referrals, if necessary.
Common Questions About Fertility and Pregnancy
Q: How can I tell if I am ovulating?
A: While each woman’s ovulation schedule is unique, you can watch for some specific signs that you are ovulating. One reliable signal is a sustained rise in your normal body temperature. Some women experience tenderness or a slight swelling in their breasts while others feel a spike in sexual desire. You can also use an ovulation predictor test to help you chart your ovulation.
Q: I think I may be pregnant, but I’m not sure. What are some of the earliest signs of pregnancy?
A: A few signs of pregnancy become evident as early as a week or two after you conceive, such as:
- A late or missing period
- Tender breasts
- Implantation bleeding
Q. How much weight gain is too much?
A. If you put on too much excess weight during your pregnancy, it will be harder to get your pre-baby body back after birth. Even more importantly, excess weight can play a role in complications during pregnancy, bring about gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, or contribute to the need for a caesarian delivery.
Updated guidelines from the Institute of Medicine provide you with some parameters for keeping your weight gain in the healthy zone:
- Starting at a normal baseline with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9: 25 to 35 pounds
- Starting at a below-average weight with a BMI under 18.5: 28 to 40 pounds
- Starting at an above-average weight with a BMI between 25 and 29: 15 to 25 pounds
- Starting with a BMI of 30 or above: 11 to 20 pounds
Work with your OB/GYN and/or a qualified nutritionist to create a balanced, satisfying diet that will help you stay within healthy boundaries during your pregnancy. Avoid consuming junk food and food that is high in fat and sugar. If you follow a balanced diet in your second and third trimester, you will typically gain one to two pounds per week.
Q: What about exercise and pregnancy?
A: Staying active contributes to your health as well as your child’s healthy development. Your exercise routine is certainly something you should discuss with your doctor, but in general, if you have an established workout schedule before pregnancy, you can safely continue it during gestation, as long as it still feels good.
If you are looking for a pregnancy-friendly activity, you might want to check your local swimming pool. Sign up for a water aerobics class or one designed especially for pregnant couples, if it is available. Lap swimming is another mom-friendly activity because the water bears your weight, taking the strain away from your back or any other areas of soreness.
Q: What types of exercise should I stay away from?
While you are pregnant, you should avoid playing contact sports such as hockey, football and soccer. You should stay away from activities that have a higher than normal risk of falling, such as ice skating, horseback riding and skateboarding.
Get in Touch with Us Today
Peoria Women’s Health is your headquarters in Illinois for fertility treatment and a healthy pregnancy. Get in touch with us as soon as you know you want to get pregnant, and we will work with you every step of the way. We look forward to sharing this fantastic life journey. Contact us online or call (309) 692-2805 for Dr. Tamara Olt or (309) 683-0200 for Dr. Lindsey Ma.
Facebook Post: Ready to start your family? Start out on a healthy track by seeing your OB/GYN early to create a customized pregnancy plan. Find out more here.