- Take folic acid: Take a multivitamin with 400mcg of folic acid every day before pregnancy and during early pregnancy when the baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing. Look on the label of the vitamin bottle to see if it contains the necessary amount of folic acid.
- Get a pre-pregnancy checkup: Your healthcare provider can help you stay as healthy as possible. He/she can explain how pregnancy might affect you, review any medications you are taking and make sure you are up to date on immunizations.
- Eat right, maintain a healthy weight and get fit: You’ll feel better and start your pregnancy off right if you eat a variety of nutritious foods every day. Avoid foods high in fat and sugar. Also, cut back on caffeine. Drinking more than two cups of coffee, tea or caffeinated soda a day may make it harder for you to get pregnant.
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke: Smoking may make it harder for you to fall pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can put your baby at risk for certain serious health problems. Research has also shown that smoking slows the growth of the baby.
- Stop drinking alcohol: Drinking any kind of alcohol (liquor, wine, beer, wine coolers, etc.) puts your baby at risk for miscarriage and serious physical and mental problems. If you need help to stop drinking, ask your healthcare provider.
- Don’t use illegal drugs: Taking street drugs can put your baby at risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery and serious physical and mental problems. Stop using any illegal drugs before you try to get pregnant and stay clean throughout your pregnancy. If you need help to stop, ask your healthcare provider. But don’t stop taking any prescription medications without first talking with you provider.
- Avoid infections: Some infections can harm a developing baby. Wash your hands frequently. Stay away from potentially unsafe food. Cook all meat and eggs thoroughly. Wash all fruits and vegetables well. Avoid unpasteurized milk products.
- Avoid hazardous substances and chemicals: Some cleaning products, pesticides, solvents and lead in drinking water from old pipes can be dangerous to your baby. Avoid chemicals and paint. Reduce your risk by wearing rubber gloves and working in a well-ventilated area. Ask your healthcare provider for advice about hazardous substances and chemicals.
- Learn about genetics: Your healthcare provider will take your health history and ask about the health of members of your family. Based on this information, your doctor or nurse may recommend that you see a genetic counselor to learn about your risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
- Avoid stress: Stress isn’t good for you or your baby — before, during, or after pregnancy. Too much stress may increase the risk of preterm labor, low birth weight and possibly miscarriage.
10 Steps to getting healthy before pregnancy
Please note: The information provided on this website is not intended to and do not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.