Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy - Topic Overview
Even though you're not pregnant yet, you might already be thinking about which room to turn into the baby's room and how to decorate it. And you might be making lists of all the baby clothes and supplies that you'll need.
But it's also a good time to take some steps to help yourself have a happy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Now more than ever, it's smart to get regular exercise, eat healthy
foods, and drink plenty of water, as well as to reduce or stop drinking
caffeine. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. When possible, avoid using
medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. Always talk to your doctor first before you stop or start any medicines.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free women’s preventive services, including mammograms, birth control and well-woman visits. Learn more.
If you use an intrauterine device (IUD), arrange to have it removed.
If you have been taking the Pill (oral contraception) or using birth control shots (such as Depo-Provera), try to wait until you've had your
first full menstrual period before you try to conceive. This may take up to 1
Before trying to conceive, talk to your doctor about any
medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. You and your doctor may decide that it's best to stop taking the medicine, to take a different medicine, or to keep taking it.
Choose healthy foods instead of junk food. Eat a balanced diet. Pregnancy is not the time
to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, do it before becoming pregnant.
Don't go on a crash diet, because you may end up with a nutritional deficiency
that could be harmful to you or the baby.
Take a daily vitamin-mineral supplement. Taking a
supplement that contains 0.4 mg to 0.8 mg (400 mcg to 800 mcg) of folic acidbefore becoming pregnant
reduces the chance of having a baby with a
neural tube defect.
If you have a family history of
neural tube defects, have had a previous infant with a neural tube defect, or
are on medicines to prevent seizures, take a daily supplement containing
4 mg (4000 mcg) of folic acid.
You also need other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, for your
health and that of your baby.
For more information on how to eat well, see the topic Healthy Eating.