Prenatal Visits Not Early Enough For Reducing Birth Defects, Complications - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/28/06

Prenatal Visits Not Early Enough For Reducing Birth Defects, Complications

Instead of prenatal care, this new push by health officials is being dubbed "preconception care."

Officials say women need to visit their doctors well in advanced before becoming pregnant.

In a typical prenatal visit doctors say a woman is usually 10 to 12 weeks pregnant. The problem is, by then, a birth defect could already happen.

Guidelines have already been issued by the Centers for Disease Control for what's called "pre- pregnancy" checkups.

So before you plan to conceive, women are encouraged to get screened for diabetes, HIV and obesity.

It's also recommended that your vaccinations are up to date.

We spoke with one Tyler physician today who say these check-ups are especially important because many women are getting pregnant later in life.

Dr. David Dalton, Medical Director for Trinity Mother Frances' FamilyCARE Center, addressed one medical condition in particular: hypertension.

"If a woman is on medication that controls her hypertension and she forgets to tell her doctor she's thinking about getting pregnant, if she's on the wrong medication for pregnancy that can be a problem early," says Dr. Dalton. "We won't know it until she sees her obstetrician who may say I wish you weren't on that particular medicine let's change it."

Men should also change some habits before conception.

Dr. Dalton also says for men, smoking affects their sperm production and sperm motility.

He says men should also be aware of environmental exposures and properly wash their hands if they handle toxic material.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

 

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