Being a mother involves major responsibilities and love. That’s why it’s important to take steps before, during and after pregnancy.
If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, consider the following:
1. Plan your pregnancy
- If you have doubts about pregnancy and motherhood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a section titled My Reproductive Life Plan that provides a series of tips to help you.
- Discuss your plans with your primary care doctor and get a referral to an obstetrician, gynecologist or midwife.
- Keep a copy of your medical history. That way any doctor will have a record of any health issue that may affect your pregnancy.
- Be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle to contribute to your baby’s health
2. Take care of yourself during pregnancy
- Perform all the necessary prenatal tests that your doctor orders. This is the best way to prevent complications during and after childbirth.
- During the third trimester the visits to the doctor will be more frequent. Tell your doctor about any issues or complications related to your pregnancy.
- Choose where you want to give birth. You can have your baby in a traditional hospital or in a maternity clinic, or even have a home birth where legally allowed. Check what options are available to you under your health insurance.
3. After giving birth
- Know the benefits of breastfeeding, like health advantages for mom and baby, saving money, and losing weight gained during pregnancy. Breast milk is also easier to digest and provides your baby with your body’s natural defenses.
- Be sure to rest. After giving birth, make it a point to rest so that your body can heal and your mind can adjust to all the changes. Limit the number of visitors during the first few days after childbirth. Use this time to strengthen the bond with your newborn.
- Be prepared for changes. Some women could have physical changes after childbirth. Your doctor can provide a safe exercise routine to get you back into shape.
- Ask your doctor how much recovery time your body needs before you can have intimate relations with your partner.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health and the Federal Citizen Information Center have created the “Healthy Moms Advice Kit.” It’s filled with practical tips on topics such as hay fever, recognizing and conquering depression, keeping food safe, discovering the real differences between name brand and generic drugs—and every mom’s dream—learning the secrets of getting a good night’s sleep.