Oct 22, 2017
Dr. Kang and Dr. Power take care of both pregnant women and
their babies....but we gotta start somewhere! Are you
thinking of getting pregnant....Well this is the podcast for
Generally women and their partners have quite a few questions about
how to get their pregnancy off to the healthiest start! This
podcast is to introduce us and answer these questions. Right
after this little reminder!
Preparing for Pregnancy:
MK: Alicia, what are your recommendations for eating in
AP: there is some evidence that the diet you are eating
around the time of conception can influence how your body diverts
its energy to your placenta - so make sure you are eating a well
balanced diet, of real food. Start taking a prenatal vitamin
as soon as you find out you are pregnant, or better yet when you
start thinking about getting pregnant. Maria...what about
MK: Exercise: is good! anything you have been doing, keep doing -
30-45 min 3-4 times a week.
AP: When it comes to alcohol during pregnancy, there is no
safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Maria, what do you
think about alcohol during pregnancy?
MK - You are absolutely right. Most people have heard of
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
and there is a broad range of effects to the baby including general
size, brain size, development, learning disorders...these are
lifelong problems that can affect the baby. There is no safe
amount or safe time during the pregnancy to drink.
And before you ask about all those women in Europe who drink
during pregnancy, there are consensus guidelines out there, which
means that even the European countries like France and Italy
recommend avoiding alcohol during pregnancy. I looked into
this and Bulgaria and the UK have come out with the guideline of no
more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week. They
still say that if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you
should avoid alcohol. This is probably has more to do with harm
reduction and public health strategy. Bottom line, the
earliest intervention we can promote is a healthy pregnancy and
this starts with avoiding alcohol.
AP: what about drugs, marijuana?
MK: This is a big topic. Drugs like heroin, cocaine and
ecstasy complicate your pregnancy and can compromise blood flow to
your baby. This means your baby may be very small and
premature. Plus the smaller and earlier your baby is born,
the more problems it can run into during those critical first few
days and weeks of life. This can really affect brain
development down the road. Another major problem immediately
after babies are born is withdrawal. Babies will actively
withdraw in the same way that adults do. They are sweaty,
have high heart rates, have diarrhea, are in pain and can even have
seizures. On top of that, withdrawing babies spend less time
with their moms, have difficulty feeding and are hard to manage
even for experienced moms and caregivers.
The effects of Mary J haven't been teased apart as much as heroin,
cocaine and ecstasy but it's known as the "gateway drug".
This means, that it easily paves the way for more illicit drug
use. I think this is why the research is difficult to perform
and to analyze, because there are not as many mom's using JUST
The bottom line is: AVOID illicit drug use. But more
importantly, if you are struggling with a drug and/or alcohol
problem, please just get help. There are programs for
pregnant moms who are struggling and it's not about taking your
baby away. The more you seek out help and work at it, the
better your baby will be in every aspect.
Get on board with a maternity care provider that you connect
with. And reach out the the Addictions Outpatient Clinic -
1125 Pembroke Street here in Victoria, BC.
MK: what about health conditions? Alicia what do you normally
counsel women on?
AP: If you have medical conditions, it is important to be as
stable as possible when you are trying to conceive - some examples
of diseases that should be stable are diabetes, seizure disorders,
crohn's or colitis, hypertension, kidney disease, depression and
anxiety. Please tell your health care provider as soon as you
think you may want to get pregnant, as certain medications are
safer than others in pregnancy and so they may decide to change a
medication to plan for pregnancy. Many people are on
antidepressants and often ask the question about whether they
should stop their medication prior to conceiving...this is a
complicated question with no easy answer...but the most important
part of the answer is that a stable mother is the most important
thing to work towards. If your care provider is unsure, they
can always ask someone who does this all the time for help. The
docs at grow health are always happy to see women to discuss these
issues prior to becoming pregnant!
Book an appointment with a care provider, and depending on where
you live your options will be a midwife, nurse pratitioner, family
doctor or Obstetrician. In Victoria bc, the options are a
midwife or family doctor. We will be doing a future podcast
on this topic.
MK: Now dad's also play a role in this, and probably good for them
to be on the same track as future mom's. Eating healthy,
exercising, stopping smoking/drugs and minimizing alcohol is always
a good rule of thumb.
AP: now lets get to the nitty gritty of things....
Mk: yes indeed....what do you tell people about how to get
AP: Basics on menstrual cycles and when to try to get
pregnant. Most women have a 28 day cycle. This starts
on the first day of your menstrual cycle, and ends the day before
your next menstrual cycle. Most women ovulate around day 14,
and the egg generally needs to be fertilized within 24 hours so I
usually recommend women have intercourse on day 14, day 12 and day
16. If you really want to hedge your bets then you could add
on day 10 and 18. We usually recommend 48 hours between
intercourse to allow for the man's sperm to reaccumulate to a
reasonable number. The majority of people, with consistent
trying will be pregnant within 6 months of starting, if you are
under the age of 36 and not pregnant by 6 months, it is probably a
good idea to see your health care provider, if you are older than
36 years, i usually recommended seeking health advice after 3
months of unsuccesful trying.
AP: What is the latest on Zika virus and pregnancy....
MK: Current recommendations are that women consider a delay
in conceiving a child for 2 months and that a male partner delay
conceiving a child for 6 months after returning from travel to a
Zika virus affected area.