You should start taking care of yourself even before trying to get pregnant. Talk to your health care provider to learn how you can prepare your body for pregnancy.
The most important things you can do before becoming pregnant (according to womenshealth.gov) are:
- Take 400 to 800 micrograms (0.4mg to 0.8mg) of folic acid daily to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine. Taking a prenatal vitamin is a good way to make sure you’re getting enough.
- Stop smoking. Talk to your provider for ways to quit and visit: https://smokefree.gov/. You'll find additional information at https://www.iredellhealth.org/health-library/topic-center/f500101e-c0dd-45d4-a10f-da08a3f17fbf/
- Stop drinking alcohol. No amount of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy. For more facts, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/features/alcoholandpregnancy/index.html.
- If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions include asthma, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, thyroid disease, and epilepsy. Be sure you vaccinations are up to date.
- Discuss all over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are taking with your health care provider. Some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy. If you use opioids or take medicines for opioid dependence, let your provider know, so that special care for your newborn can be anticipated. Your pediatrician and/or obstetrician will inform you more about this.
- Avoid contact with hazardous chemicals and materials at work or home. Avoid contact with cat and rodent feces (get someone else to empty that litter box!).