Health Care Before Pregnancy

products, meat and meat alternatives, fruit and vegetables, and grain products. A vitamin called folic acid is especially important to protect against the development of birth defects called neural tube defects. The recommended folic acid intake for women with no health risks or with health risks such as epilepsy, diabetes, or obesity is 0.4 to 1.0 mg per day with a daily multivitamin. Folic acid should be taken from two to three months before conception, throughout pregnancy, and for the first four to six weeks after birth or as long as breastfeeding continues. A woman who has previously conceived a baby with a birth defect such as anencephaly, myelomeningocele, cleft lip or palate, structural heart disease, limb defect, a defect of the urinary tract, or hydrocephalus should take 5.0 mg of folic acid daily from three months before conception until 10 to 12 weeks after conception. After that time, she needs to continue taking folic acid 0.4 to 1.0 mg per day throughout the rest of pregnancy and for the first four to six weeks after birth or as long as breastfeeding continues. Daily multivitamins should also contain 200 to 400 IU of vitamin D per day, and some studies are starting to show that a higher dose of vitamin D is beneficial throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. Exercise before and during pregnancy Regular moderate exercise is also helpful before and during pregnancy. Women who do not

Most women have their first prenatal medical visit shortly after finding out that they are pregnant. This is usually eight to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. However, by that time, most of the major organ systems and structures have already formed in the unborn baby. The time before the first prenatal visit is the most crucial to the baby’s development. To reduce the risk, try to seek medical advice before you actually become pregnant. Your doctor can help to make sure that you are in the best possible health before conceiving, in order to ensure the best outcomes for you and your baby. Nutrition before and during pregnancy Good nutrition and healthy eating practices are important to a healthy pregnancy. If you are obese or underweight, you are at higher risk of complications during pregnancy. Try to achieve a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. Strive for a healthy diet with food choices from the four major food groups: milk and milk

Screen for certain health conditions before pregnancy If you or your partner have a family history of certain diseases. If you have not already had rubella or chicken pox. Potential teratogens include certain drugs. These vaccines cannot be given once you actually are pregnant. you should both undergo screening to determine if you carry the traits for those diseases. you should consider screening for infections such as HIV or syphilis. Sometimes a change in treatment may be needed before pregnancy begins. Get chronic illnesses under control before pregnancy Additionally. if you have any high-risk chronic illnesses. varicose veins. try to remove or reduce your exposure to any potentially harmful substances. consider screening and taking the vaccination if possible. marijuana. alcohol. because early and appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby. high blood pressure. If you are high-risk for hepatitis B. cocaine. you will find it easier to continue that pattern throughout pregnancy. paint thinners. Carrier screening is done for couples with a family history of cystic fibrosis. Reduce exposure to potentially harmful substances before pregnancy Before becoming pregnant. gestational diabetes. and low back pain in pregnancy. and heroin. If you enter into pregnancy with regular aerobic exercise as part of your daily life. you may want to consider taking the vaccines for both diseases before becoming pregnant. congenital hearing loss. hazardous substances at work. pesticides. Some infections put the unborn baby at risk during pregnancy. called teratogens. These substances can cause problems in the development of your unborn baby. it is important to get them under control before becoming pregnant. because some medications are harmful to the unborn baby. usually in the first couple of months of pregnancy.exercise are at higher risk of excessive weight gain. smoking. More information Health Care in Pregnancy Maternal Conditions & Pregnancy 2 . Before becoming pregnant. or who are high-risk for genetically determined diseases such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia.

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