From Here to Maternity

The time to start planning for a baby is before you become pregnant. Women of childbearing age should take precautions, even before conception, to significantly improve the chances of having a health baby.

  • Taking the vitamin B folic acid daily
    Taking folic acid before you are pregnant can cut the risks of birth defects of the brain and spine and possibly cleft lip and palate for your baby. The March of Dimes recommends that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, in addition to eating foods rich in folate. These foods include: orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans and whole grain products. In addition, some breakfast cereals, enriched grain products and vitamins are fortified with a synthetic form of folic acid that is easily absorbed by the body.

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle
    By modifying certain lifestyle behavior patterns, women can improve their chance of becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. Since most women become pregnant before they are aware of being pregnant, it is important to reduce drinking alcoholic beverages, stop smoking and drug use, limit your intake of caffeine, and avoid hot tubs and saunas.

  • Achieve your ideal weight
    Being overweight or underweight can cause significant problems during pregnancy.

  • Eat a nutritious and balanced diet

  • Know your family medical history

  • Have medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes under control before you get pregnant
    If you're not immune to the chicken pox and rubella, check with your health care provider about getting vaccinated before becoming pregnant.

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle
    Pre-pregnancy checkups are an important assessment for women who have had problem pregnancies and chronic health problems, not to mention those women whom have never been pregnant. During the visit, the patient's medical history and lifestyle will be evaluated with the doctor. It is a chance to discuss openly questions or concerns regarding current health conditions, medications and possible complications of pregnancy including screening for infections and inherited diseases.

Fathers should also avoid exposure to workplace hazards, stop smoking, and limit their use of alcohol. By practicing these healtier behaviors, a father can increase a couple’s chance of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.