Preparing for Pregnancy

Folic Acid for a Healthy Baby
Getting enough folic acid can reduce the risk for neural tube defects (NTDs) and may also reduce the risk for other serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Understanding Your Body

Anatomy of Female Pelvic Area
The female pelvic area contains a number of organs and structures: the endometrium, uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, and vulva.
Menstrual Cycle: An Overview
A woman is generally most fertile (able to become pregnant) a few days before, during, and after ovulation.

Planning Ahead

Planning a Pregnancy
Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.
Nutrition Before Pregnancy
You need about 300 extra calories a day to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Planning Ahead

Planning a Pregnancy
Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.
Nutrition Before Pregnancy
You need about 300 extra calories a day to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Older Moms

Older Moms, Healthy Babies
The fact is that most women in their 30s and 40s have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you should do what any woman should do: Prepare for your baby with healthy lifestyle choices. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and learn what you can do to prevent potential problems.
Pregnancy Over Age 30
Many women today are waiting until later in life to have children. In the United States, birth rates for women in their 30s are at the highest levels in three decades.

Genetic Counseling

Genetics
Genetics is the study of the patterns of inheritance - how traits and characteristics are passed from parents to their children.
Types of Genetic Diseases
Genetic diseases are classified by type: chromosomal abnormalities, single gene defects, problems caused by exposure to certain substances, or a combination of these.
Overview of Birth Defects
A "birth defect" is a health problem or physical change that is present in a baby at the time he/she is born.
The Difference Between a Chromosome Abnormality and a Single Gene Defect
A person can have normal chromosomes in number and structure, but still have a disease or condition caused by a mutation in one or more of the genes on the chromosomes.
How Chromosome Abnormalities Happen: Meiosis, Mitosis, Maternal Age, Environment
Chromosome abnormalities usually happen as a result of an error in cell division.
Pregnancy Over Age 30
Many women today are waiting until later in life to have children. In the United States, birth rates for women in their 30s are at the highest levels in three decades.
When to Seek Genetic Counseling
A family history of certain diseases or disorders or certain factors affecting the pregnancy itself may be reasons to visit a genetic counselor.

Difficulty Getting Pregnant

Infertility
Many different factors and problems can cause infertility, including problems in the female reproductive system, the male reproductive system, or a combination of the two.
Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women
Age, chronic diseases, and endometriosis are common factors for women. For men, they are STDs, toxic substances at work, and cigarette smoking.

Difficulty Getting Pregnant

Infertility
Many different factors and problems can cause infertility, including problems in the female reproductive system, the male reproductive system, or a combination of the two.
Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women
Age, chronic diseases, and endometriosis are common factors for women. For men, they are STDs, toxic substances at work, and cigarette smoking.

Causes of Infertility

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Untreated, PID can cause infertility and can also lead to chronic infection or even peritonitis.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
This syndrome results from several related factors, including insulin resistance. This can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes and affect fertility.
Uterine Fibroids
Some estimates say that 20 to 50 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed. In most cases, fibroids are benign.
Male Factor Infertility
Problems with the production and maturation of sperm are the most common causes of male infertility.
Endometriosis
Women with endometriosis develop tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue outside the uterus, usually on other reproductive organs inside the pelvis or in the abdominal cavity.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Women suffer more frequent and severe symptoms from STDs. Some STDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to both infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

Infertility Tests and Procedures

Endometrial Biopsy
An endometrial biopsy is a procedure performed to obtain a small tissue sample from the lining of the uterus.
Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy is the visual examination of the canal of the cervix and interior of the uterus using a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a hysteroscope.
Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is a procedure that utilizes a laparoscope, a thin flexible tube containing a video camera to examine the organs of the abdominal cavity.
Pelvic Ultrasound
Ultrasound, or sound wave technology, is used to examine the organs and structures in the female pelvis.

Now that You're Pregnant

Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Test
The signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman, but the most obvious sign usually is a missed period.
Calculating a Due Date
First, determine the first day of your last menstrual period. Next, count back three calendar months and add one year and seven days to that date.
Birth Statistics
Statistics relating to birth rates
Prenatal Medical Care
It may seem like you are having a lot of appointments, but regular visits to your doctor are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. You and your growing baby will be carefully monitored, with tests done to assess any potential risks and develop a treatment plan, if needed.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Multiple Pregnancy
Every pregnant woman feels like she’s getting big, but if you’re pregnant with two or more babies, you’ll really be growing fast. Be prepared by learning the signs of a multiple birth.