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Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before becoming pregnant is very important because the most crucial stages in a baby's development occur before most women know they are pregnant.

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant it is a good idea to schedule a physical exam with your doctor so your overall health can be evaluated. For example:

  • Whether or not you are immune to certain illnesses (such as German measles and Hepatitis B) that could affect the developing fetus or the pregnancy can be determined. If you are not immune, vaccination can be done before you become pregnant.
  • Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases can take place.
  • Lifestyle behaviors that are potentially dangerous to a developing fetus (such as smoking, drinking, drug use) can be discussed.
  • The possibility of inherited diseases or birth defects (such as Down's Syndrome) can be discussed.
    • if you are at high risk for one of the above you can be referred to a genetic counselor before you become pregnant.
  • Nutritional needs for pregnancy can be discussed, including the need for folic acid supplements.
    • studies have shown that taking folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine (neural tube defects or spina-bifida)
    • taking folic acid may also help to prevent other birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate
    • the March of Dimes recommends that all women of child-bearing age should take a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid every day

© Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood - Invest in Children Child Fatality Review Committee

The Child Death Review Program is funded by: Cuyahoga County, and The Child and Family Health Services Block Grant provided through the Ohio Department of Health. The Child Death Review Program is administered by: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health.