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Motherhood Begins Before Pregnancy

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.

Read this note in Spanish.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that as women in the United States are delaying motherhood, the rate of teen births is at a historic low. Learn more about the findings.

Your Key to a Healthy Pregnancy

Looking for information you can trust during pregnancy and your baby’s first year?

The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health and text4baby have teamed up to help moms-to-be find reliable health resources for their pregnancy.

Text4baby is the first free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health through text messaging.  Women who text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive three free text messages a week, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby’s first birthday.

The FDA also provides tips on medicines, food safety, breast pumps and more for expectant moms.

Learn more about important conversations you should be having with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to increase the safety of your pregnancy by watching the video Resources for You and Your Baby.

If you have questions about having a healthy pregnancy, you can ask experts live during a Twitter chat, Thursday from 1 to 2 p.m. To participate use the hashtag #pregchat.

Read this post in Spanish.

5 Things You Can Do to Have a Healthy Baby in the New Year

Did you know that every 4 ½ minutes a baby in the United States is born with a major birth defect? January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about birth defects and of the steps that can be taken to prevent them. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are things you can do to get ready for a healthy pregnancy.

  • In addition to eating a healthy diet, be sure to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy.
  • See a health care professional regularly. Talk to them about taking any medicine, including prescription and over-the counter medicines and dietary or herbal supplements, and take only what is needed. Talk to your health care provider before starting or stopping any medication.
  • Work to get health conditions, like diabetes, in control before becoming pregnant, and keep them in good control during pregnancy.
  • Try to reach and maintain a healthy weight before becoming pregnant.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy.

Managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant is important, because many birth defects happen very early during pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Take care of yourself today for a healthy baby tomorrow.

Find more information about birth defects and educational and promotional materials for National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

Text4Baby is a proven way to keep expectant mothers informed about staying healthy. The service sends free text message tips about pregnancy and taking care of a baby.