Make Health a Priority Before You Get Pregnant

Dr. Jenifer Dankyi shares tips on how to make healthier lifestyle choices before getting pregnant. 

Learn more about Jenifer Dankyi, DO
Make Health a Priority Before You Get Pregnant
Featured Speaker:
Jenifer Dankyi, DO
Jenifer Dankyi, DO is an OB/GYN Specialist at Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville WI. 

Learn more about Jenifer Dankyi, DO
Make Health a Priority Before You Get Pregnant

Caitlin Whyte (Host): There is so much excitement around getting pregnant, thinking of names and nursery colors, baby showers, and all those tiny baby clothes. But before you actually become pregnant, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your body is ready for that journey. So, today we are talking to Dr. Jenifer Dankyi an OB GYN specialist at Upland Hills Health who will share some tips on how to make healthier lifestyle choices before getting pregnant. This is The Inspire Health Podcast from Upland Hills Health. I'm Caitlin Whyte. So, doctor today we're talking all about preconception care. Now to start us off, what are some ways we can prepare our bodies for a possible upcoming pregnancy?

Jenifer Dankyi, DO (Guest): One thing you can do is to come in and see your provider, your OB GYN. We like to optimize your health before a pregnancy to set you up to have the healthiest pregnancy and healthiest baby you can. There's a lot of things we would review at a visit like that. Just basic health tips, of course, just keeping yourself healthy with diet and exercise is a great way to start, but reviewing your medical history, including any chronic conditions you have, if it's a thyroid condition, if it's high blood pressure, depression, asthma, a lot of these things can affect pregnancy.

And if we have those things optimized prior to conceiving, helps mom and it helps baby in the long run too.

Host: Now, when you talk about chronic conditions, of course, some of those include medications. Are there types of medications that we could be on that we should go off of?

Dr. Dankyi: There's many medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, but those are best reviewed prior to starting pregnancy and most medications that you're on, shouldn't be stopped abruptly, if you find out you are pregnant. So, knowing ahead of time, what things are safe to be on and what could be concerning, is really helpful.

Host: So, from just having friends who have been pregnant, I've heard about all kinds of screenings and genetic testing and things like that. When it comes to screenings, what should we be looking for?

Dr. Dankyi: Yeah. One thing we would do is just go through your family medical history and maybe some personal history too, to see if there are things that needs to be, any risk factors you have for pregnancy or for transmission to a baby. There are certain things we can screen for. We have what's called carrier screening for certain genetic conditions, and there are many different types of carrier screening, we can test for specific conditions, sometimes. The ones that are most recommended are screening for cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy, as well as certain blood conditions. It's helpful to know if that's something you can pass on to a child beforehand.

Host: And now I feel like I also hear a lot about prenatal vitamins. What are in those? And are they really as important as they sound?

Dr. Dankyi: It is the most important vitamin that we talk about before pregnancy is actually folic acid. Folic acid is very important early on in the first trimester. It is fortified in several of the foods that we eat. We want to make sure that moms are getting an adequate supply before they get pregnant. Folic acid, if you're not getting enough, it can lead to having open spinal tube defects. You might've heard of spina bifida. So, that is the most important thing in a prenatal vitamin early on and why we recommend starting it, even as you're trying to conceive. Going forward in the pregnancy, there's a lot of other vitamins and nutrients that are important in the prenatal vitamin to grow a baby, like mainly iron and calcium.

Host: Now, for those of us who might be having some issues getting pregnant, I mean, are there ways we can boost our fertility even before?

Dr. Dankyi: Keeping yourself healthy, like we talked about earlier on, but what could be helpful is if you do have any specific questions about fertility or concerns with for instance, your menstrual cycle, for people who aren't having regular cycles and are concerned about that, or have something in their medical history or sexual history that they're concerned could cause a problem getting pregnant.

Host: Now, wrapping up here. Is there anything you want to add? Any tips or tricks for couples who might be embarking on their pregnancy journey soon?

Dr. Dankyi: Yeah, I think sometimes it can be a stressful time for people. So, I think having this visit with your physician can help set some of those questions that you might have on your mind at ease and making sure that you are healthy and set up to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. It's always good to ask questions that are on your mind and then one thing we can talk, we talk about sometimes too is how long it might take to get pregnant. It can take longer than people think. So, giving yourself a little grace and trying to not make it, sometimes it becomes stressful and that doesn't help the process either.

Host: Well, thank you so much, Dr. Dankyi for this important information and for taking the time out of your day to share it with us. To make an appointment or find out more information about us, you can call 608-930-8000. That's 608-930-8000. Or check us out This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This is The Inspire Health Podcast. I'm your host, Caitlin Whyte. Stay well.