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As you think about starting a family, what can you do to prepare your body for pregnancy ahead of time? The key is to live a healthy lifestyle. Evaluate your daily habits and take some time to make the necessary changes for you and your future baby. Emotionally, you should be ready to commit to a lifetime of parenthood.
You should see a doctor before you get pregnant for recommendations on how to have a healthy pregnancy. If you have ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid conditions, it is important for those conditions to be stable before getting pregnant. If you do not have immunity against Rubella or Varicella, ask your doctor's advice about receiving a vaccination for these diseases. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that a woman wait at least 4 weeks after receiving one of these vaccinations before trying to conceive.
Here are more things to consider before getting pregnant
- Stop Smoking-Smoking during pregnancy can affect your baby's development and birth weight, as well as the health of the placenta.
- No alcohol during pregnancy-It is undetermined what amount of alcohol will cause fetal alcohol syndrome in your developing baby, so it is safest to avoid all alcohol during pregnancy.
- No recreational drug usage.
- Check with your doctor about any prescription medication you are taking, to be sure it is not contraindicated during pregnancy.
- Stay away from hazardous chemicals.
- Make sure you are getting enough Folic Acid in your diet. Taking folic acid is thought to reduce a baby's risk of developing birth defects of the spine, such as spina bifida. Ideally, you should start taking a multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid two months before you get pregnant.
For more information about preparing for pregnancy, fertility, and conception, go to our pregnancy health center.
As one of Chicago-land's only community hospitals to have a genetic counselor on staff, we're able to help people identify if they are at risk for an inherited disease and what options they have to manage or prevent it. Meet our genetic counselor or learn more at edward.org/genetics.
Edward has a special support group, Sharing HOPE, for couples who have experienced a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or neonatal death, and are now pregnant or considering pregnancy. For more information, call (630) 527-3263.