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Learning About Planning for Future Pregnancy

How can you plan for pregnancy?

Even before you get pregnant, you can help make your pregnancy as healthy as possible. Take these steps:

  • See a doctor or midwife for an examination. Talk about the medicines and natural health products you take. Discuss any health problems or concerns you have.
  • Don't take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Examples of these are ibuprofen and aspirin. They can raise your risk of miscarriage. This risk is higher around the time you conceive or if you use them for more than a week.
  • Take a daily multivitamin or prenatal vitamin. Make sure it has folic acid. This will lower the chance of having a baby with a birth defect.
  • Keep track of your menstrual cycle. This is a good idea for a few reasons. It helps you know the best time to try to get pregnant. And it can help your doctor or midwife figure out when your baby is due and how it is growing.
  • Make healthy choices. Eat well. Avoid caffeine, or limit your intake to 300 mg or about 2 cups of coffee or tea each day. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs. Take only the medicines your doctor or midwife says are okay.
  • Get plenty of exercise. A strong body will make pregnancy and birth easier. It will also help you recover after the birth. And exercise can help improve your mood.

What other examinations or tests should you have?

Before trying to get pregnant, take care of any other health concerns you might have.

  • If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or you are obese, talk to your doctor before you get pregnant. Together, you can make a plan about how to control these health problems.
  • Talk with your doctor about any medicines you take. Find out if it is safe to keep taking them while you are pregnant.
  • Get any vaccines you might need. They can help prevent birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth that can be caused by infections such as rubella or measles. Ask your doctor how long you should wait after you get a vaccine before you try to get pregnant.
  • Talk with your doctor about whether to have screening tests for diseases that are passed down through families (genetic disorders). These diseases include:
    • Cystic fibrosis.
    • Sickle cell disease.
    • Tay-Sachs disease.

If you think you might be pregnant

  • You can use a home pregnancy test as soon as the first day of your first missed menstrual period.
  • As soon as you know you're pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor or midwife. Your first prenatal visit will provide information that can be used to check for any problems as your pregnancy progresses.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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