Surprises happen. In fact, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. So if you’re woman of child-bearing age, you should be prepared. To give your baby the best chance possible of a healthy life, you need to ensure you’re healthy now.
Here are some tips to help you along:
Take Your Vitamins: Every woman should take 400 mcg of folic acid daily (that’s vitamin B). This can be done by taking a multi-vitamin that includes the dosage, or by eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, grains and citrus. If you need more convincing, the March of Dimes has some great info about the importance of folic acid, which can greatly reduce the risk of birth defects.
Visit Your Doctor: Get a check up to be sure you do not have any illnesses you could pass on to your child. Some have no symptoms, but could be dangerous for a baby. If you do not have a doctor or are concerned you cannot afford one, we can help. Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County supports Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies in Palm Beach County, so pregnant woman can get the care they need to have a healthy baby.
Quit Smoking: If you smoke, please quit. Recent studies have shown that even exposure to second hand smoke gives a baby an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and smoking during pregnancy can lead to premature birth (babies born before 37 weeks gestation) and/or low birthweight (babies born weighing less than 5 1/2 pounds). For help going smoke-free, click here.
Eat Well: Eat a nutritionally balanced diet. That can be difficult in our society, but it will help you look and feel better now and, should you get pregnant, it will benefit you and your baby in many ways. If you don't always have access to healthy food because of financial reasons, organizations in the community can help. Click here for more info.
Get Medical Care: If you do get pregnant, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. There are many things you will need to know now that can prevent problems in the long run. So keep your appointments and follow doctor's orders. And during your first visit, be sure you have a Healthy Start screening done, this is a simply a questionnaire that determines whether you're eligible for free services. If you need help with transportation, finding a doctor, or other pregnancy-related services, please reach out to Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.
If you need help with housing, food or other issues please call 211.