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The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
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Thinking of Having a Baby? Here's How to Plan Ahead

If you and your partner are thinking of having a child, planning ahead can contribute to a healthy pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a “preconception” visit to your doctor.

Your AOA physician can help assess your health history and your family health history to identify any risk factors and create a plan that prepares you for the best possible pregnancy and delivery. This will include an exercise/rest plan, dietary recommendations, and a plan for any special care you may need.

Thinking ahead and using your AOA doctor as a valuable partner in planning will help ensure that you are as healthy as possible before you conceive.

Here are some guidelines for boosting your preconception health:

  1. Increase your intake of folic acid. All people need folic acid, but it is especially important for women who are planning to get pregnant. Take 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day to prevent major birth defects. Talk to your AOA doctor about your folic acid needs.
  2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking may make it more difficult to get pregnant. If you smoke while you're pregnant, your baby is at greater risk for being born prematurely.
  3. Make sure any medical conditions you may have are under control. Some conditions that can affect pregnancy, or be affected by pregnancy include asthma, diabetes, oral health, obesity and epilepsy.
  4. Make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations. They’ll protect you against certain illnesses during pregnancy and keep your baby safe.
  5. Avoid contact with toxic substances at work or in your home. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

Learn more about getting yourself ready for a healthy pregnancy: