Preparing for Pregnancy
Your overall health prior to pregnancy can influence the course of pregnancy, maternal risks, and the health of your baby. Since only about half of all pregnancies are planned, staying fit and healthy before you become pregnant can lead to a happier and healthier pregnancy.
- Consider a preconception appointment with your doctor to review your health history and any potential issues that may need to be addressed prior to becoming pregnant. Medical problems that you may need to address prior to pregnancy include: diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, HIV/AIDS, phenylketonuria (PKU), bleeding or clotting disorders, seizure disorders, and asthma.
- Vitamins containing folic acid decrease the chance of a child being born with a spinal defect. Talk with your doctor about which vitamin is right for you.
- Keep physically active and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and birth trauma.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drug use.
- Stay up-to-date with vaccinations including tetanus, pertusis, influenza, and chicken pox.
Regular doctor visits with preventative health screenings, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in good habits of diet and exercise, and cessation of substance abuse are essential to good health in all seasons of life.