Women's Health

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideWomen's Health: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Women's Health: Nutrition and Health Care Reform

Pregnancy

Optimally, all pregnancies would be planned well before conception. In the United States, it is currently estimated that 40% of all pregnancies are unplanned. This means that many women become pregnant before they are prepared.

The ideal time to start learning about pregnancy is not when a woman is already pregnant. In order for a future mother to maximize her chances of having a healthy baby, she should to know what she can do before she conceives and then what to do after she learns she is pregnant.

For a woman, pregnancy planning means learning everything she can about how her own health and that of her baby can be optimized. For example:

  • The expectant mother needs to know about those diseases that can complicate a pregnancy by their existence or their treatment, such as depression, epilepsy, thyroid disease, asthma, lupus, or diabetes.
  • If the mother smokes, she must stop, because women who smoke have a higher incidence of miscarriages and stillbirths.
  • She needs to be aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • She must also know which drugs and medications she can continue to use safely and which ones she must avoid.
  • There are also a number of prenatal tests that can monitor the health and development of her baby.
  • Finally, she needs to plan ahead for the labor and delivery. Although pregnancy itself lasts only nine months, it is a period of time in which the maintenance of a woman's health is especially critical.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015

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