Do you have a pregnancy plan? - FOX 32 News Chicago

FOX Medical Team

Do you have a pregnancy plan?

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ATLANTA -

If you're thinking about having a baby, you've probably got a hundred questions. Should you be taking vitamins? Are the medications you are taking safe? For Dr. Meera Garcia, it's all about having a plan.
   
Garcia says that plan needs to start long before you get pregnant. You need to start thinking now about your health, your weight, and your habits. She says they all have an impact on your pregnancy.

Garcia recommends that as a first step, you should talk to your doctor.

"To see if your vaccinations are up to date.  Get your flu shot, get your tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis, your TDAP injections," said Garcia.

You should also talk about your medications, and health issues.

"To get all your medical problems under control, whether it's diabetes or high blood pressure," Garcia said.

Next, Garcia says to start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, which helps the baby's brain and spinal cord develop.

"And most of this development happens in the first trimester. So making sure you start a prenatal vitamin with folic acid a month or two before you get pregnant will really help your body's stores be where they need to be when you get pregnant," explained Garcia.

If you're taking the birth control pill, doctors used to tell women to stop, and then wait two or three months.

"More and more research has shown that the first month off birth control pill is actually one of the most fertile months. So what I would advise is do not come off the birth control pill until you're ready to have children," said Garcia.

If you don't have the best habits, now is the time to make some lifestyle changes.

"Number one -- smoking. If you smoke, please stop smoking. It makes your health so much better for the rest of your life, but it also decreases the complications in pregnancy," said Garcia.

Finally, is it safe to have a glass of wine during your pregnancy?

"Technically, the answer is no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy," advised Garcia.

Garcia says try to get to a healthy weight range before you get pregnant. Thirty minutes a day of exercise can help. And you shouldn't forget your partner. Having a heart to heart talk can put both of you on the same game plan.

"You need to make sure you are both in this together, because it takes a lot of energy and effort to raise a child," Garcia said.

Garcia also recommends taking a DHA, or an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, along with a prenatal vitamin. She says if you're not at a healthy weight, talk to your doctor about what you can do to get there. Being too heavy can raise your risk of complications during your pregnancy.

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