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Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider.  Your provider will want to discuss your health history and any medical conditions you currently have that could affect a pregnancy. They may want to discuss any previous pregnancy and some of the steps you can take before pregnancy to help prevent certain birth defects including these:

  1. Get 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.  Folic acid is a B vitamin. Having enough folic acid in your body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help prevent major birth defects of the developing baby’s brain and spine 
  2. Talk to your healthcare providers before starting or stopping medications, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal and dietary supplements, and vitamins.  Discuss with your provider the best ways to keep any health conditions you have under control
  3. Get up to date of the recommended vaccinations.
  4. Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking illegal drugs, all of which can cause many problems during pregnancy, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.
  5. Avoid toxic substances like harmful chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances such as synthetic chemicals, some metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces around the home and in the workplace. These substances can hurt the reproductive systems of men and women. They can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
  6. Reach and maintain a healthy weight.  If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, you are at higher risk for serious health problems.  talk with your doctor about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant.

Healthy pregnancy planner
Your health before pregnancy is very important and can affect the health of your future baby. By making a plan before getting pregnant and taking the time to get healthy, you can take the steps to a healthier you and baby-to-be. Download this tool to help you do that.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Pregnancy Planning from the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists