Steps to Help Pregnancy
Healthy moms tend to have healthy babies. If you plan to, or become pregnant, take the following steps to help your pregnancy be a healthy one and to see that your baby gets off to a good start.
- Consider genetic tests or counseling if you or your husband has a family history of genetic disorders, if you are 35 or older, or if your husband is 60 or older.
- Have a complete medical exam, including a gynecological exam. A number of medical problems can cause harm to you and your baby. These include:
Take measures to control and/or treat all medical conditions and take care of your health before you get pregnant and when you are pregnant. If you have a chronic medical condition, ask your doctor how it may affect your pregnancy.
See your health care provider as soon as you know you are pregnant. Get regular prenatal care.
Consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins while trying to get pregnant. These have folic acid, a B-vitamin that may prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida. Continue to take vitamin-mineral supplements as prescribed by your doctor throughout your pregnancy.
Ask your doctor or a dietitian for a meal plan that meets the special needs of pregnancy.
Don't drink alcohol, take "street" drugs, or smoke.
Limit your intake of caffeine. Try to do without it completely.
Follow your doctor's advice about weight gain. The amount of weight you gain should depend on your pre-pregnancy weight and health status, as well as your ethnic background. If you're very overweight, plan to lose excess pounds before you get pregnant.
Exercise in moderation 3 times a week with your doctor's okay. Some activities thought safe during pregnancy are walking, golf, swimming, and low-impact aerobics.
Practice relaxation and other stress control techniques.
Enroll in childbirth preparation classes.
If you own a cat, arrange for someone else to empty the litter box. Cat feces can transmit a disease called toxoplasmosis. If you're infected while pregnant, your baby may be stillborn, born prematurely, or suffer serious damage to the brain, eyes, or other parts of the body. It is safe, however, to handle or pet the cat.
Be informed. Know the warning signs of pregnancy complications. These include increasing blood pressure and early labor. Getting treatment early is important.
- High blood pressure
- Sexually transmitted disease (STDs)
- RH disease (after the first pregnancy, if not treated with Rhogam)
- German measles (Rubella)