Before getting pregnant, what should you do?

A healthy pregnancy begins before you become pregnant. Planning your pregnancy can help you have a healthy baby. Getting your body ready for pregnancy takes at least a few months. The following are some important steps to help you get ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.  Once you’re pregnant, continue all of your new healthy habits and see your health care provider regularly throughout pregnancy for prenatal care. Follow the links below to learn more.

1.    Take a multivitamin that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to reduce the risk for neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
2.    Plan when you want to have a baby. Planning ahead will give you and your baby the best possible beginning. The goal is to have a healthy and happy baby.
3.    Ask yourself, “Am I emotionally and financially ready to have a baby? Baby is expensive. According to a 2010 USDA report, the average middle-come family will spend about $12,000 on child-related expenses in the baby’s first year of life.
4.    Make a preconception appointment with your health care provider to identify any potential risks to your pregnancy.

5.    Stop smoking and stop drinking alcohol.

Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, decrease birth weight, urinary incontinence and deprive your developing baby of oxygen and nutrients.

When you drink alcohol, so does your baby. The alcohol quickly reaches your baby through the placenta. In an adult, the liver breaks down the alcohol. A baby’s liver is not fully developed and is not able to breakdown alcohol. Sustained drinking during pregnancy increases your risk of miscarriage and fetal death. There is NO safe level of alcohol use at any time during your pregnancy or even when you are trying to get pregnant. Any kind of alcohol should be avoided including red or white wine, beer and liquors. After a baby is born, the alcohol can be passed to the baby through breast milk. Therefore, it is best to avoid alcohol until you are all finished breast-feeding.

“With the new baby, you’ll need more attention, time, money, and wisdom. These are the books you MUST read.” -Angela


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