Rebecca, 34, wants to get pregnant but feels she lives too unhealthy a lifestyle to support a healthy pregnancy. She smokes up to a pack of cigarettes a day, eats fast food and is out of shape. She wants to know how to make her body ready to carry a baby, and stop her unhealthy ways. “All I have ever wanted is to be a mother,” she says. “The clock is ticking, and it’s louder than it has been before. I’m ready to have a baby, but my body’s not.
“I’m not motivated,” she continues. “I should be. I mean what better motivation is there than to have a baby?”
Dr. Lisa sits down with Rebecca and explains how her current lifestyle can hurt her baby, and what she needs for a baby-ready body. Since a baby begins developing 17 days after conception, it is important to start living a healthy lifestyle before you decide to become pregnant. “You’re responsible for your baby’s health, inside and outside,” Dr. Lisa tells Rebecca. “So you’ve got to change that, and I think you’re ready to make that change.”
Using the Masimo Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeter, Dr. Lisa measures the amount of carbon monoxide in Rebecca’s blood. Dr. Lisa shows Rebecca that her carbon monoxide levels are high from smoking. The carbon monoxide will affect her baby if she does not quit smoking, potentially causing cerebral palsy, mental disabilities, deformities and even death.
Rebecca has three cats, which Dr. Lisa explains could put the baby at risk, as well. Cats can excrete toxoplasma gondii through their feces, which causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. A baby with toxoplasmosis can be born with birth defects. “You can actually be screened for this,” Dr. Lisa says.
Rebecca’s unhealthy diet can also harm the baby. Dr. Lisa explains that eating foods high in folic acid and getting enough calcium are vital when pregnant. “What you eat directly affects what happens to the baby,” Dr. Lisa says.
“But the smoking’s got to stop,” Dr. Lisa continues, “because you don’t want to have a miscarriage, you don’t want to have a stillbirth, you don’t want to have a baby that’s born dead. You don’t want to have a baby that’s born with any kind of deficits or disorders mentally, and you also don’t want to put yourself at risk for bleeding problems and things like that. You’re going to tackle this!
“You can do this. You can change your lifestyle,” Dr. Lisa adds.