Preparing for Pregnancy
If you aspire to motherhood, you should know that obstetricians advise women to prepare for pregnancy several months in advance. The reason: by the time you suspect that you are pregnant, the development of the fetal brain, spinal cord and several major organs are well underway. Plan ahead and you'll help to ensure the healthiest future possible for your unborn baby. Here are some tips to get your pregnancy off to a good start.
- See your doctor for a "preconception history and visit." This visit includes a physical, blood work and hereditary screening. Tell your physician about any prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies you take, as they may pose risk of the growth of your baby.
- Customize your weight and exercise. Discuss with your physician what type of exercise and diet regimen is right for you. Eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and protein, and limiting sweets and caffeine is suggested.
- Begin taking a vitamin supplement. Folic acid is a vitamin essential for preventing birth defects and premature births. It is recommended to take a prenatal vitamin daily before and during your pregnancy.
- Quit smoking and eliminate alcohol. Smoking and alcohol is associated with an increased risk of low birth weight, still birth, miscarriage, pre-term labor and fetal alcohol syndrome.