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    Before Pregnancy

    You know that you need to see a doctor and make lifestyle changes if you are pregnant. But did you know there are things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy even before you get pregnant? Taking a little time to learn about pre-pregnancy care can give you a better chance of having a healthy baby. Here’s a checklist of things to do if you are thinking about getting pregnant.

    See Your Doctor

    You may need to get caught up on blood tests or immunizations before you get pregnant. You can also talk to your doctor about your health and family history, and any medicines you take. He or she can help you decide if you need to make any changes before getting pregnant. Stop Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs. Limit Caffeine. If you smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs, you should stop before you get pregnant. They can make it harder for you to get pregnant and increase the chance of miscarriage. If you need help quitting smoking, alcohol or drugs, talk to your doctor.

    Eat a Balanced Diet

    A balanced diet is always good for you. You should follow a healthy diet before you get pregnant. A few simple guidelines are:

    • Reduce empty calories, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.
    • Eat foods that are high in protein.
    • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products will make you healthier before you get pregnant.
    Take prenatal vitamins

    Pregnant women need more folic acid, iron and calcium than the average woman. Exercise. Staying active can give you the strength you need to carry the extra weight of pregnancy – and the endurance to handle labor and delivery. Talk with your provider before you start any exercise program.

    Sources: March of Dimes – www.marchofdimes.com; MayoClinic – www.mayoclinic.com; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health – www.womenshealth.gov


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