Have a Heart-to-Heart about Family HealthBy Christine Johnson, for SparkPeople
It's extremely important to your health, and that of your baby, to research your family's medical history. And there's no better way to start than by asking your mother. Aside from having parenting experience, her knowledge of women's health can help you prepare for your journey into motherhood even before you conceive. Talking about health--and family illnesses--can be tough sometimes.
Some mothers and daughters are not particularly close, and this could be a way to bond, improve your relationship or achieve a better understanding of the other person. Each mom/daughter relationship is different, so use this list as an inspiration for a conversation between you and your mother.
Here are ways you can break the ice.
Women's Health and Family Health History Starting from your first visit to the gynecologist, your mother was likely there to help fill out forms and ease your anxiety over that first annual exam. Many health issues are hereditary, such as certain kinds of cancer, reproductive troubles, high blood pressure and heart complications. Determining your risk factors for these complications will help your health-care provider find the best health plan for your unique situation. Start by asking your mom these simple questions:
- Do you or does anyone else in the family have a history of cardiovascular complications (heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, etc)?
- Is there a history of breast, uterine, ovarian, or cervical cancer in the family?
- Have you ever experienced abnormal periods (irregular cycles, severe cramping, heavy or abnormal flow)?
- Is there any chance I may be at risk for ovarian cysts or endometriosis?
- At what age did you start menopause?
- Did you undergo any hormone replacement therapy?
- Do you continue to get annual exams?
- Do you have an annual mammogram?
- Have you ever found a lump?
These are just a few questions, some to which you may already know the answer. You may even have questions of your own, unique to your own life. Knowing the answers to these questions and being able to share them with your health-care provider means that he or she will be able to provide you with better care before, during and after pregnancy.
More from BabyFit:
- Your Diet Can Protect Your Daughter from Breast Cancer
- Heart Healthy Benefits of Exercise
- Sneak in Exercise Before Pregnancy