Preparing for Pregnancy

Featured Speaker

Jenna L Kolodziej, DO

Jenna L Kolodziej, DO

About this Podcast

About This Podcast

Getting good care before, during, and after your pregnancy can help your baby grow and develop and keep you both healthy.

It is the best way to be sure your little one gets a head start on a healthy life.

You will want to choose a health care provider for your pregnancy and childbirth.

This provider will provide prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum services.

Dr. Jenna Kolodziej, OB/GYN, is here to discuss your best options while you prepare for pregnancy.



Melanie Cole (Host):  If you’re thinking about trying to get pregnant, it can be an exciting time but there are certain things that you should probably do now to get healthy, have fun and feel prepared to start trying to conceive. My guest today is Dr. Jenna Kolodziej. She’s an obstetrician/gynecologist with Aspirus Health System. Welcome to the show, Dr. Kolodziej. When women come to you as their ob/gyn and say, “Okay. I want to start trying to get pregnant now,” what’s the first thing you tell them to do?

Dr. Jenna Kolodziej (Guest):  The first thing we normally talk about is what are they hoping to get out of the pregnancy? When do they want to start conceiving?  I always encourage them to start a prenatal vitamin as soon as the idea is crossing their mind. I also have patients track their cycles. We also plan, if they are on birth control, when do we want to stop that and when do we want to actually start trying so that we can track it together and see what our success rate is.

Melanie:  If a woman is--and women are having babies later and later now--if they’re in their 30’s, do you give different advice than somebody who’s in their 20’s?

Dr. Kolodziej:  No. I give them the exact same advice. We want a healthy mom to start off with and we go from there. That’s why it’s important to keep your doctor in the loop so that we know what your difficulties are and how long you’ve been trying so that we can try to encourage a positive outcome in the result of a pregnancy.

Melanie:  So many myths on the internet and everywhere else, Dr. Kolodziej. So, let’s talk first about the menstrual cycle. What do you tell women about the best time to get pregnant?  We’ve been hearing since we were teenagers about this timing issue. What do you tell women?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I talk to them and that’s where, if they know their cycles pretty well, we can chat about that. The best time to get pregnant is, obviously, during ovulation, which is different for each patient. I tell them, on average, it’s normally day 13 or day 15 after your period. That’s when I have people try to conceive and have intercourse. There’s a whole bunch of different ways they can also check for ovulation. There are temperature charts that we can use; there are ovulation kits that we can use. So, we kind of go over every option for them and see which one they want to try and what they’re most comfortable with.

Melanie:  When you say 13-15 days after their period--after their period begins or after their period is totally over?

Dr. Kolodziej:  After their period begins.

Melanie:  Okay. So, that first day. When you guys at your offices ask us, “What was the first day of your last period?” So, that’s what we look at as when it begins?

Dr. Kolodziej:  Yes.

Melanie:  Okay. That is confusing for some women. Now, if they want to look at those ovulations and schedules and the kits and things that are out there, what do you tell them when they get stressed out or they say, “I’ve heard you shouldn’t have sex too many times because that makes it more difficult to get pregnant”. What do you tell them?

Dr. Kolodziej:  Well, we focus on not stressing out, in general. I tell them that this is supposed to be a relaxing, joyful experience – you’re trying to conceive. The less stress you have, the more likely you are to, hopefully, you are to become pregnant. We kind of go over that and I just reassure them that it can take a little bit. Not every time we try does everyone get pregnant right away. And to just keep staying positive and keeping track of how things are going and keep the communications open with me or whoever they are seeing.

Melanie:  Do you give them any advice on how often they should have sex?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I do. Normally, if they are using an ovulation kit, I tell them to have sex every other day during that time when they have a positive test result. After that, they can have intercourse as much as they want.

Melanie:  How long does it take for the effects of birth control medications to subside if they’re going to go off the pill and they want to start getting pregnant?  How long should they wait?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I tell patients that it really depends on the type of birth control that they have. So, if they’re taking pills, their cycles can go back and regulate right away. If they have different forms of birth control like Depo Provera, it can take up to a year before your cycle regulates. During that time, I tell them, “Of course, you can always keep trying but we really need for you to have a cycle that we can monitor,” so until that becomes normal it’s hard for us to really track and have timed intercourse during that.

Melanie:  When do you tell them about being healthy and nutrition?  Is there anything you want them doing? If they’re starting, you mentioned prenatal vitamins, and if they’re in their 20’s, of course, they feel immortal and everything but if you’re a little bit later, in your 30’s, then you start to care more about your nutrition and such. What do you tell them?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I tell all my patients, we want to get you to be at your healthiest point during conception so look at your diet, look at your exercise habits, start your prenatal vitamins, try to avoid high sugary foods, caffeine – start cutting back on that, avoid alcohol and we’re just focusing on just having a well-balanced diet.

Melanie:  What about the man?  Does he have a role in pre-conception and things that they should be doing?  Is there anything?

Dr. Kolodziej:  Yes. I talk to my patients about having their partner start on a multivitamin as well in promoting health in general, too. Another thing is I also talk to them about having their partners decrease alcohol consumption so that they are kind of both on the same plan when they are both trying to conceive.

Melanie:  Is that a time to try to lose weight, Dr. Kolodziej?  Because then women say, “Okay, I’m going to lose a bunch of weight and then I’ll be able to get pregnant more easily or I won’t have to worry about gestational diabetes.”  Is that a good time to lose weight?

Dr. Kolodziej:  It’s hard to say. I would say that if you’re on the overweight or obese side, it doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of weight loss. Sometimes that can help your cycle regulate which would be easier for us to time out when you’re best chances are at conceiving but the goal is not to have rapid weight loss in order to become pregnant. Just getting healthy, in general, is our goal.

Melanie:  You mentioned alcohol. So, for the man, of course, you want them to cut down or whatever, but for the women, a lot of women think, “Well, I can drink until I’m pregnant and then I’ll stop” or “I can have that glass of wine.”  What do you tell them?  Do they have to stop during that whole conception period?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I talk to women and I encourage them not to drink alcohol at all during the conception period. Most people don’t know they’re pregnant right away, so by the time they find out they are between 4-6 weeks pregnant already and so that’s where this comes in that if you really are trying to become pregnant, you really should avoid any alcohol.

Melanie:  Is there anything that you want listeners to know about their health history, their family history before they get pregnant?  Should they know about the way that their mother gave birth or if it was easy for their sisters to get pregnant or any of that? Is it important?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I think it’s always helpful to have some family history of how big were the babies in your family. Did anybody have any challenges?  It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be the same outcome that you have. I also encourage people to know their family history as far as if there are any genetic abnormalities that potentially could run in the family that we would need to be aware of to screen early on.

Melanie:  I’ve heard women discussing oral health because once you’re pregnant, then they get scared to go to the dentist. Is this something that you recommend that they do before they get pregnant?

Dr. Kolodziej:  I would say that it’s encouraged to keep up on all your health maintenance like regular teeth cleanings but it’s not necessary to avoid. If you have a dental issue that occurs during pregnancy, it is safe to get it taken care of and, most of the time, your obstetrician and your dentist will talk if there needs to be antibiotics or what pain medicine would be okay and safe during pregnancy and kind of go over all that information together.

Melanie:  Dr. Kolodziej, in just the last minute kind of wrap it up for us and give women your best advice when they’re considering getting pregnant.

Dr. Kolodziej:  My best advice if you’re considering getting pregnant would be to start your multivitamin, focus on getting healthy, working on those habits, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and come in and get preconception counseling if you have any question with your doctors so all these issues can be addressed and your questions can be answered so that we can help encourage this to be a positive experience for you.

Melanie:  Thank you so much, Dr. Kolodziej, for being with us today. You’re listening to Aspirus Health Talk. For more information you can go to That’s This is Melanie Cole. Thanks so much for listening.