Preparing for Pregnancy

Even before you become pregnant, your health matters to your future baby. Adopt good health habits today. And take care of any medical problems you have before becoming pregnant.

Remember: As soon as you know you are pregnant, get regular prenatal care.

Things to consider

Read through the list below. The more items that describe you, the healthier you may be.

  • I eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

  • I keep physically active.

  • I have my health problems under control.

  • My weight is about right.

  • I don’t smoke.

  • I don’t use recreational drugs.

  • I don’t have a drinking problem.

Think about the following:

  • Who will help you through pregnancy and with childcare?

  • Do you have health insurance?

  • Do you have the money needed to cover childcare and other day-to-day child expenses?

  • Will you be able to take the time you need away from your job for maternity needs and childcare?

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Each of the following tips can improve your health as you prepare for pregnancy:

  • Take a daily vitamin supplement that contains iron and folic acid (a vitamin that reduces the chance of some birth defects) 

  • Eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

  • Exercise 3 or more times a week and at least 150 minutes weekly.

  • Get within 15 pounds of your ideal weight.

The first weeks of pregnancy are the most important time in a baby’s development. Before you become pregnant:

  • Don’t use recreational drugs.

  • Don’t drink alcohol.

  • Don’t smoke.

Working with your healthcare provider

Your healthcare provider can help answer any questions you may have. Do you know when to stop taking birth control pills? Are any over-the-counter medicines safe for pregnant women? You can also ask about special care you may need if you have any of the following:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like herpes or chlamydia

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Other chronic health problems


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