Pregnancy Health

photo of pregnant belly

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant there are steps you can take for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

5 Steps to Get Ready for a Healthy Pregnancy

  1. Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day for at least 1 month before getting pregnant to help prevent birth defects.
  2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
  3. If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions include asthma, diabetes, oral health, obesity, or epilepsy. Also be sure that your vaccinations are up to date.
  4. Talk to a health care professional about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are taking. These include dietary or herbal supplements.
  5. Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause infection at work and at home. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

Preventing Problems During Pregnancy

Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent major birth defects. Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants. Learn more about the dangers of smoking and find help to quit.

Alcohol: When you drink alcohol, so does your unborn baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant.

Vaccinations: Talk to your doctor about vaccinations (shots). Many are safe and recommended during pregnancy, but some are not. Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you and your baby healthy.

Flu and Pregnancy: If you're pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illness from the flu. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even their babies after birth.

Infections: You won't always know if you have an infection sometimes you won't even feel sick. Learn how to help prevent infections that could harm your unborn baby.

HIV: If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, get a test for HIV as soon as possible and encourage your partner to get tested as well. If you have HIV and you are pregnant, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy and not give HIV to your baby.

West Nile Virus: Take steps to reduce your risk for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne infections.

Diabetes: Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for your baby. It can cause serious complications for you, too.

High Blood Pressure: Existing high blood pressure can increase your risk of problems during pregnancy.

Medications: Taking certain medications during pregnancy might cause serious birth defects for your baby. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking. These include prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements.

Environmental and Workplace Exposures: Some workplace hazards can affect the health of your unborn baby. Learn how to prevent certain workplace hazards.

Unborn Babies Exposed to Radiation: If you think you might have been exposed to radiation, talk with your doctor.