Having a Safe and Healthy Pregnancy and Baby:
Our goal is for all babies to be born healthy. Even though the cause of most major birth defects is unknown, there is still much that we do know about how to have the best chance of having a healthy baby. Here are a few tips and websites with more information.
- Do not drink alcohol in any amount at any time in your pregnancy! – There is no safe time and no safe amount – if you are planning to become pregnant, stop drinking 3 months before. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are very common and entirely preventable.
- Do not smoke! Not before, during or after pregnancy. – If someone in the home smokes, encourage them to stop or seek help to stop smoking. Second hand smoke is very dangerous to everyone else in the home, including your new born baby. It can be just the same as smoking yourself.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet. Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. At lowest risk are individuals that fall between 30-34.9. Medium risk is 35.0-39.9, and highest risk is 40 or greater. If you need to lose weight, you should do so before becoming pregnant to maintain a healthy weight and diet. During pregnancy is not the time to lose weight. It is good to exercise if you doctor recommends.
- Take your folic acid supplement. – You should be taking a vitamin with folic acid or folic acid itself with the recommended dose being 400 mcg or 0.4mg. This is part of a healthy diet and should begin prior to pregnancy. See more information at the link to the Folic Acid Coalition below..
- Check with your doctor on any and all medications you are taking. – Also check on vitamins, minerals, herbal products, energy drinks, home remedies, or supplements before getting pregnant.
- Check your work, school, and home for possible harmful exposures.
- Ask your partner and others in the home to help you by adjusting their own habits. This will help you not be tempted to do things you normally do that could be harmful to your baby, such as having contact with uncooked meats and kitty litter.
- Your doctor may want to do blood tests to check for your infection status.
- If you have traveled to a country that has had a Zika virus outbreak, be tested by your doctor right away. Also, if your husband or partner has traveled or travels to a country with Zika, get tested and let your doctor know. See information in the link provided below about Zika.