Is your body ready for a baby?

4 steps to prepare for pregnancy

Planning to start or expand your family? That’s great! Now’s the time to take steps to get your body ready for a baby. Here are four steps to get started.

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Step 1. Take a look at your health

If you smoke, stop. In addition to putting yourself at risk for many health problems,your chance of miscarriage increases if you smoke. If someone in your house smokes, they need to stop too. Secondhand smoke during pregnancy also increases the chance of miscarriage. Plus, it plays a big role in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Get to a healthy weight. Weighing too much or too little for your height can make it hard to get pregnant and carry a baby to term. Starting out at a healthy weight will help you and your baby avoid conditions such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, a type of very dangerous high blood pressure. It also will make it easier to get back to a healthy weight after the baby is born.

Step 2. Start taking a vitamin with folic acid

It’s best to start taking a multivitamin with folic acid at least a month before you get pregnant. Folic acid helps with brain development and can prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.

Step 3. Make an appointment with your doctor

A preconception health plan is your road map to a healthy pregnancy. Before getting pregnant, talk to your primary care provider or OB/GYN about stopping contraception and your health history and lifestyle, including diet, exercise and habits.

Your doctor may order tests and may adjust or stop certain medications that may not be safe for you to take during pregnancy.

Step 4. Take good care of yourself! Getting a good night’s sleep, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are always important for your health — but even more so during pregnancy.

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