Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy
Even though you're not pregnant yet, you might already be thinking about which room to turn into the baby's room and how to decorate it. And you might be making lists of all the baby clothes and supplies that you'll need.
But it's also a good time to take some steps to help yourself have a happy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Now more than ever, it's smart to get regular exercise, eat healthy
foods, and drink plenty of water, as well as to reduce or stop drinking
caffeine. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. When possible, avoid using
medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. Always talk to your doctor first before you stop or start any medicines.
If you are not sure when you are most likely to get pregnant (when you are fertile), use the Interactive Tool: When Are You Most Fertile?
If you haven't yet chosen a health
professional for pregnancy, childbirth, and after-birth (postpartum) care, give
some thought to your many options. For more information, see
Choosing Your Health Professional for Pregnancy Care.
If you use an intrauterine device (IUD), arrange to have it removed.
If you have been taking the Pill (oral contraception) or using birth control shots (such as Depo-Provera), try to wait until you've had your
first full menstrual period before you try to conceive. This may take up to 1
Understanding how pregnancy occurs and using fertility awareness can help increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Keep track of your menstrual cycle and when you have sexual
intercourse. This information will help in figuring out your due date and your
gestational age after you become pregnant.
Before trying to conceive, talk to your doctor about any
medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. You and your doctor may decide that it's best to stop taking the medicine, to take a different medicine, or to keep taking it.
For more information on how to eat well, see the topic Healthy Eating.
If any problems or needs are found, deal with them early. Make sure
you are fully immunized to prevent potential fetal harm. For example, if you
have never had German measles (rubella) or the rubella vaccination or
are unsure, tell your doctor. If a blood test shows that you have
no immunity, you can be vaccinated. You should then wait at least 3 months
after being vaccinated before you try to get pregnant.
As a part of your physical checkup, you may want to ask for a
prepregnancy exam. Such an exam can help you find out risks to you or your potential children from pregnancy. This knowledge may help
you decide whether you wish to see a family medicine doctor or midwife for your
care during pregnancy or whether you require the care of a specialist. It may
also help you decide what tests you want to have done during pregnancy.
If you have a condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, be sure to talk with your doctor about what this means for your pregnancy. Find out what you need to do to manage your condition and be ready for pregnancy.
Have fillings or other dental work done, if needed, before you
become pregnant. If you have
periodontal (gum) disease, have it treated before
you become pregnant.
Talk to your doctor about whether
to have screening tests for diseases that are passed down through families
(genetic disorders). Screenings for genetic disorders include those for:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008).
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP
Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(2002, reaffirmed 2007). Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
ACOG Committee Opinion No. 267. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 99(1): 171–173.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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