Prenatal Care

Taking Care of Yourself Before Getting Pregnant

Taking care of yourself before you get pregnant helps you have a healthy pregnancy and lowers your chances of having a baby born with a birth defect. Here are ways to take care of yourself before you get pregnant:
 
  • Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly (30 minutes per day for most days of the week is best), and get enough rest and sleep. Talk to your healthcare provider about what kinds of food and exercise are best for you.
     
  • Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid (one of the B vitamins) every day. The best way to do this is to take a daily multivitamin pill that contains this amount of folic acid. Getting enough of the synthetic (manufactured) form of folic acid every day before you get pregnant and during early pregnancy can help prevent certain birth defects. Many breakfast cereals and other grain products have folic acid added to them, but only certain cereals contain 400 mcg of folic acid per serving. Check the label on your multivitamin or cereal to find the amount of folic acid in the food.
     
  • See your healthcare provider for a complete checkup. Make sure that you have had all your shots, especially for rubella (German measles). Rubella can cause serious birth defects. Chickenpox is another illness you want to avoid during pregnancy. If you have had chickenpox and rubella in the past, you should be immune to them.
     
  • Tell your healthcare provider about any prescription or nonprescription medicines (including herbal remedies) that you are taking. Some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy.
     
  • Stop smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs. Ask your healthcare provider for help. You can also get help from a member of your faith community, a counselor, or a trusted friend.
     
Pregnancy and Pain

Pregnancy Info

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