Health Tips for Pregnancy
Thinking about having a baby? Start by looking at your lifestyle, habits and health risks. They can affect your pregnancy and later your baby. Here are six of the most important things you can do at least three months prior to conceiving:
- Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to lower the risks of birth defects such as spina bifida, a condition where the baby's spine does not close completely during pregnancy.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking can narrow your blood vessels and affect the delivery of oxygen to your developing baby. And when you're pregnant, no amount of alcohol is considered "safe."
- Get to a healthy weight and work with your doctor to control medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
- Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter and prescription medications you may be using as well as any dietary and herbal supplements. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date.
- Avoid contact with toxic substances and chemicals, including cat or rodent feces, which can lead to serious infection.
- Don't neglect your teeth and gums. Good dental care, including daily flossing, can help avoid medical problems.
A father's health is also important to a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Your partner should check with his own doctor about health history, medications he may be using and working toward a healthy lifestyle.