If you're thinking about getting pregnant, or are already pregnant, taking care of your health is more important than ever. Follow these tips for a healthy pregnancy:
Get 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily.
Eat foods fortified with folic acid, take a multivitamin, or take a folic acid pill to get your daily dose. Taking folic acid in a pill is the best way to be sure you're getting enough. Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before you get pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If you don't get enough folic acid, your baby's spine may not form right. This is called spina bifida (spy-nuh bif-uh-duh).
Also, your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a vitamin with folic acid. But you also can buy vitamins or folic acid pills at drug and grocery stores. Some foods rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also added to some foods like enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. Get more details on folic acid.
One half of all pregnancies are not planned!
And many women don't realize they are pregnant for at least a few weeks. So you should always take care of your health. Your baby is counting on you for the best start at life!
Ask your partner to stay healthy too!
Ask your partner to limit how much alcohol he drinks. If he uses illegal drugs or smokes, encourage him to quit. Studies show that men who drink a lot, smoke, or use drugs can have problems with their sperm. These might cause you to have problems getting pregnant.
While trying to conceive, you can use natural planning methods such as the ovulation method (have intercourse just before or after ovulation) or the symptothermal method (evaluating fertility based on your daily temperature). Remember: women are more likely to become pregnant if intercourse takes place just before or just after ovulation. This is because the unfertilized egg can live for only 12-24 hours in your body. If youv'e been trying for a few months with no results, don't get discouraged. Only 20% of women trying to get pregnant are successful on the first attempt. So don't lose hope or assume something is wrong.
Adoption and Foster Care
If you are having fertility problems, you and your partner might want to explore other ways to raise a child. Find out more about adoption and foster care. Adopting or becoming a foster parent could be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Get more information on adoption and foster care.
Source: The National Women's Health Information Center
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office on Women's Health