If you’re planning to get pregnant soon, there are many things that you can do to make sure that your pregnancy gets off to the best start possible.
To prepare yourself and your body ahead of time, takes steps to establish a positive and healthy lifestyle by evaluating your current lifestyle and making any necessary adjustments. You should also seek to stabilize any chronic health conditions if possible.
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Making some lifestyle changes before becoming pregnant can help you and your baby stay healthy and may prevent potential complications. Below are some suggestions to consider before conceiving.
Your Health History
- Stop smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult to conceive and puts you and your child at greater risk of health problems later in life. In addition, smoking is linked to babies born with low birth weight and increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirths, preterm labor and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Eliminate alcohol. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy, even in small amounts, can negatively impact the growth and wellbeing of your baby. Women who have two or more alcoholic drinks a day are at greater risk of having a baby with severe long-term effects, including mental retardation, birth defects and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- Exercise. Developing a regular exercise regimen before getting pregnant may help you with all of the physical changes and challenges that you will go through during pregnancy and labor.
- Eat nutritiously. Balancing your diet with protein, fruits and vegetables, grains and dairy products will make you healthier before you get pregnant. If you are underweight or overweight, it is best to try to reach your ideal weight before you get pregnant.
- Take vitamins and folic acid. Most doctors recommend taking a multi-vitamin and a folic acid supplement before getting pregnant. Folic acid may reduce a baby's risk of developing spina bifida and other defects of the spine.
If you have any chronic medical conditions, it is best for those conditions to be stable before getting pregnant. If you a chronic condition or any other condition that may impact you or your baby, you should consult your doctor before you conceive. Chronic conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Sickle cell trait or disease
You should also inform your doctor of any genetically related medical conditions in your or your partner’s families. You should also discuss your health history and your current medications.