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Before Your Next Pregnancy

What to do before (and during) your next pregnancy to lessen the chance for birth defects?

If you are planning to become pregnant, taking certain steps can help reduce risks to both you and your baby. Proper health before deciding to become pregnant is almost as important as maintaining a healthy body during pregnancy.

The first few weeks are crucial in a child's development. However, many women do not realize they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

One of the most important steps in helping you prepare for a healthy pregnancy is a pre-pregnancy examination (often called preconception care) performed by your physician before you become pregnant. A preconception visit includes assessments of your overall health and identification of potential risk factors that may complicate pregnancy. Women can receive advice and treatment for medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease that may be changed by pregnancy. By preparing in advance, you can be your healthiest before becoming pregnant. A preconception examination may include any/all of the following:

Reducing the risk of complications:

Other steps that can help reduce the risk of complications and help prepare for a healthy pregnancy and delivery include the following:

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