Surprises happen. In fact, half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned. So you should be prepared if you’re a woman of child-bearing age. To give your baby the best chance at 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 multivitamin 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 checkup to ensure you don't have any illnesses you could pass on to your child. Some have no symptoms but could be dangerous for a baby. If you don't have a doctor or are concerned you can't 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.
If you smoke, please quit. Recent studies have shown that even exposure to secondhand 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 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. Organizations in the community can help If you don't always have access to healthy food because of financial reasons. Click here for more info.
GET MEDICAL CARE
If you do get pregnant, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. You'll need to know many things 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, reach out to Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.
If you need help with housing, food or other issues, call 211.