Pondering Pregnancy Program

Think Ahead! Is There A Baby In Your Future?

Staying healthy before you conceive can help prevent birth defects. It is during the early stages of a pregnancy when many of the baby's major organs and systems are forming.

Two to eight weeks after conception, the fetus is the most vulnerable

  • The heart is formed by 6-8 weeks
  • The spinal column is the most vulnerable at 2-6 weeks
  • Arms and legs develop by week 8
  • During weeks 4-8, many other organs are developing and are vulnerable: ears, teeth, genitalia, palate, eyes

Have a medical check-up before you conceive
Schedule a preconception visit with your OB/GYN. Know your family history and your partner's history as it may be helpful to your physician in planning a healthy pregnancy and baby. If you don't have an OB/GYN or Nurse Midwife, contact our HealthLink Physician Referral Service at 800-515-0044, or visit our OB/GYN and Nurse Midwives page click here.

Be Prepared
There are steps you can take before you conceive to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Take folic acid - Significantly decreases incidence of spinal bifida and plays a role in heart disease prevention
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs
  • Always consult your physician before taking any medications, including over the counter drugs
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Have a Medical Problem Treated
  • Diabetes needs to be extremely controlled
  • Hypertension in managed state
  • Asthma should be evaluated
  • Any chronic condition needs to be addressed before pregnancy
  • Avoid exposure to toxic substances - Think of job-related exposures to chemical

Plan Ahead
An important step in planning a healthy pregnancy is choosing your healthcare provider. When choosing a provider, consider:

  • Does the physician/nurse midwife participate in your insurance plan
  • Where does the physician deliver
  • Do your personal desires for a birth experience mesh with the physician, nurse midwife, and the hospital
  • Investigate your current health insurance coverage.
  • How long will you be able to stay in the hospital
  • What kind of home health visits will they cover
  • Do they cover lactation services
  • Do they cover childbirth education

Here are some items to consider when choosing your birth center:

  • Take a tour
  • Check out their education programs for expectant and new parents
  • Ask about rooming in for your partner
  • Ask about lactation services
  • Discuss practices for pain management
  • If you and your partner both work, discuss childcare arrangements
  • Do you want to hire a provider or will a family member care for your child
  • Learn about the advantages of using a licensed caregiver who is state inspected
  • What hours will you need childcare
  • Do you have easy access to the provider

As a couple, you need to:

  • Discuss openly your plan for how to adapt your lifestyle
    to include children
  • You are a couple now and you will be a couple after your children are grown - protect that relationship



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