before pregnancy during pregnancy drugs, alcohol, smoking during pregnancy depression

Your Developing Baby

pregnant woman walking

Bringing a new life into the world is a time of joy and responsibility for all families. Before you even think of getting pregnant there are steps that can be taken to promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. This is called preconception care and is especially important since nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Make healthy lifestyle choices prior to pregnancy to promote the healthy growth and development of your baby.

Steps you can take before getting pregnant and during pregnancy to maintain optimal health include the following:

  • Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to prevent up to 70 percent of serious birth defects.
  • Abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and harmful chemicals.
  • Monitor medication and prescription drugs.
  • Manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
  • Eat a healthy diet and aim for a healthy weight.
  • Maintain careful hygiene to avoid infections.
  • Have a preconception checkup.
  • Learn your family medical history.
  • Seek genetic counseling if appropriate.
  • Get early and regular prenatal care.