Preparing for Pregnancy
Obstetricians advise women planning to become mothers to begin to prepare several months in advance of pregnancy. By the time you suspect you are pregnant, development of the fetal brain, spinal cord and several major organs are well underway. To ensure the healthiest future possible for your unborn baby, follow these tips to get your pregnancy off to a good start:
- See your doctor for a pre-conception history and visit. Prior to pregnancy, this exam 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 affect 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. Eat a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and protein, and limit sweets and caffeine.
- Begin taking a vitamin supplement. Folic acid is an essential vitamin for preventing birth defects and premature births. 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, stillbirth, miscarriage, pre-term labor and baby fetal alcohol syndrome.