Preparing yourself for pregnancy in the future.

Preparing yourself for pregnancy in the future.

Having a healthy baby starts long before you decide to get pregnant. Even if you're not planning to get pregnant for several years, it's important to start getting healthy now. A few simple steps can improve your well-being now and prepare you for pregnancy in the future.

Maintain Healthy Weight
The more in shape you are before pregnancy, the less likely you are to run into complications during pregnancy, like preeclampsia (high blood pressure) or gestational diabetes. In addition, women who maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy are less likely to have a premature baby, have a baby with a birth defect, or have a baby that has his or her own weight problems later in life.

Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs
Studies have shown that women who smoke, take drugs or drink during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, premature births, low birth weight babies, and babies with serious medical complications and birth defects.

Take Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin allows every cell in your body to grow and develop normally. Folic acid is especially important to women of child-bearing age. Taking folic acid, found in multi-vitamins, reduces a baby's risk for neural tube defects, a birth defect that leaves that leaves the spinal cord exposed, causing serious medical complications.

Get Prenatal Care
It's a misconception that you don't need to see an OB/GYN until you get a positive pregnancy test. If you're considering getting pregnant in the next few years, find a health care provider that can help you make sure your body is ready for a pregnancy.