Recently I had an appointment with a new healthcare provider and had to complete a health history form at my first visit. It was 3 pages long and took me about 20 minutes to do while in the waiting room. As I was sitting there, I realized that I didn’t know the answers to some of the questions, especially about my relatives.
Was this really that important?
In one word? Yes.
A family health history (FHH) form is a record of health conditions and treatments that you, your sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents have had. It can help you figure out the medical problems that run in your family. Knowing your FHH may just save your life. It may also have a direct effect on your baby’s health.
How can a FHH form help your baby?
The FHH form will help your provider see if any of the conditions or diseases that run in your family will affect your baby. For example, premature birth can run in families. And, certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure put you at a higher risk to have a premature baby.
If you and your partner complete a FHH form and share it with your prenatal provider, you may learn about the health of your baby before she is born. The earlier in your pregnancy that your provider is aware of health conditions, the sooner your provider can decide on treatments for you.
It would be even better if you could complete and share this information with your provider before pregnancy, at a preconception checkup. This way, your provider can help you become as healthy as possible before pregnancy.
Use our FHH form
Here is a form that you can print out and complete. Print one copy for yourself and one for your partner/spouse. We suggest you take it with you to family gatherings (Thanksgiving anyone?) and ask your relatives to help you fill in the blanks. You may very well find out information about diseases and conditions that run in your family and put you at risk. Early detection is often key in successfully managing a disease.
Knowing your risk for certain conditions and that your provider is on top of treatment options, should put your mind at rest. And, knowing you are doing your best to take care of your baby’s health should make you feel even better.
So, when you sit down to apple pie, start a conversation, and fill in your FHH form. The information you share with your family may make a positive difference in everyone’s lives.
Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.