Getting Ready for Pregnancy

 If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, or are already pregnant, taking care of your health is more important than ever. Many women don’t realize they are pregnant for at least a few weeks. Follow these tips for a healthy pregnancy:

Start watching what you eat. Load up on fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. Your baby needs calcium for strong bones and teeth.

When fruits and vegetables aren’t in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish).

Tell your doctor if you smoke or use alcohol or drugs. Quitting is hard, but you can do it. Ask your doctor for help.

Get enough sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours every night.

Take steps to control the stress in your life. When it comes to work and family, figure out what you can and can not do. Set limits with yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.

Move your body. Once you get pregnant, you can’t increase your exercise routine by much. So it’s best to start before the baby is on the way.

Get any health problems under control. Talk to your doctor about how your health problems might affect you and your baby. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about how to reach a healthy weight.

Ask your mother, aunts, grandmother or sisters about their pregnancies. Did they have morning sickness? Problems with labor? How did they cope?

Find out what health problems run in your family. Tell these to your doctor. You can get tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).

Make sure you have had all of your immunizations (shots), especially for Rubella (German measles). If you haven’t had chickenpox or rubella, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant.

Get checked for hepatitis (hep-uh-tie-tus) B and C, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV. These infections can harm you and your baby. Tell your doctor if you or your sex partners have ever had an STD or HIV.

Go over all of the medicines you take (prescription, over-the-counter, and herbals) with your doctor. Make sure they are safe to take while you’re trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.