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Ready to Get Pregnant? First, Get Healthy

June 10, 2019

My husband and I are ready to start our family. Is there anything I can do to increase my chance of having a healthy pregnancy?

“Preconception health is an important first step toward having a healthy pregnancy,” says Joi Findley-Smith, M.D., a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “You and your husband can take an active role in getting you in the best shape possible and reducing the risk of a complicated pregnancy.”

Dr. Findley-Smith says that the first step is to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician or primary care physician for an exam to help determine if you have any hidden medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, or discuss chronic conditions like epilepsy or asthma.

“It’s better to get these conditions under control before getting pregnant to help lessen the chances for unexpected medical consequences,” she adds.

Dr. Findley-Smith stresses the importance of quitting unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking or overindulging in alcohol.

“If you need help, talk with your doctor about lifestyle modification strategies for better health before you conceive,” she advises. “Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are also important.”

Dr. Findley-Smith says some studies suggest that multivitamin supplements with folic acid can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects. However, the advisability of taking supplements should be discussed with your doctor before becoming pregnant.

“By combining proper medical care with a healthy lifestyle and a nutritious diet before getting pregnant, you should get a good start toward a healthy pregnancy and delivery,” concludes Dr. Findely-Smith, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Clear Lake Clinic (Bay Area Campus) and Pasadena Clinic.

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