It is never too early to start thinking about pregnancy.
Getting ready for pregnancy can help increase the chances of having a healthy baby. No matter if this is your first or your fifth baby, there are important steps that you need to take to get yourself ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
- As soon as you decide to have a baby, see a physician about preconception healthcare. There are a number of Great Plains Health physicians that can provide this care and guidance for a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medical problems that you have. Also discuss lifestyle behaviors like smoking or alcohol use. Taking certain medications during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Reviewing both prescription and over-the-counter medications that you are taking with your physician will ensure that you are only taking medications that are necessary and safe for pregnancy.
- Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Having enough folic acid in your body before and during pregnancy is very important, as it can help to prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine.
- Stop drinking alcohol, smoking and using street drugs. Drinking alcohol, smoking and using street drugs during pregnancy can cause premature birth, birth defects and even infant death. Great Plains Health offers a smoking cessation class on a quarterly basis, and this class is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, call 308.568.8886.
- Avoid toxic substances and environmental contaminants. Synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray and cat or rodent feces can hurt the reproductive systems of women and men. They can also lead to disease and make it difficult to get pregnant.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk for complications during pregnancy. Learn more about the GPFit! Health and Wellness Initiative.
- Learn your family history. Knowing your family history and sharing it with your physician is important. Conditions that family members have such as heart defects or sickle cell disease may affect your child. Your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling based on your family history.
- Get mentally healthy. Feeling good about yourself is important for a healthy pregnancy. If feeling worried, anxious, sad or stressed is interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor.
- Have a healthy pregnancy! As soon as you know that you are pregnant, make an appointment with your physician to begin prenatal care.