About half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Getting healthy before getting pregnant greatly increases a woman’s chances of having a healthy baby. Living a healthy lifestyle helps ensure good health.
Things that you can do to be healthy include:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes which can cause problems for mother and baby.
- Get tested and treated, if needed, for sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). It is also important that sexual partners be tested. STDs pose special risks for pregnant women and their babies.
- Stop drinking if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant. Alcohol can harm an unborn baby even before a woman knows she’s pregnant. There is no safe level of alcohol for pregnant women. For help, call the Reachout hotline 1-800-522-9054.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases chances of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. For help with quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
- Stop the use of illegal drugs. When pregnant anything you eat, drink, or smoke affects you and your baby. For help, call the Reachout hotline 1-800-522-9054.
- Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects in babies.
- Lower stress levels. Eating well, exercising, and getting plenty of rest can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Very high levels of stress may contribute to pre-term birth or having a low birth weight baby.
- Know your family health history. If you or your partner has a family history of health problems or birth defects, you may need to see a genetic counselor. You may also need to have special tests to see if these problems could be passed to your baby.
Source: March of Dimes