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Pregnancy - health risks

Information

You should try to follow healthy habits from the time you are trying to get pregnant all the way through your pregnancy. Do not smoke or use illegal drugs, stop drinking alcohol, and limit caffeine and coffee. Talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking to see if they can affect your unborn baby. Eat a well-balanced diet and take at least 400 mcg of folic acid a day.

If you have any chronic medical problems (such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, or diabetes), talk to your doctor before trying to get pregnant.

Seeing a prenatal provider before trying to get pregnant or early in the pregnancy can help prevent, or detect and control health risks to the mother and fetus during pregnancy.

Men need to be careful, too. Smoking and alcohol may cause problems with the unborn baby. Smoking, alcohol, and marijuana use have also been shown to lower sperm count.

References

Johnson TRB, Gregory KD, Niebyl JR. Preconception and prenatal care: Part of the continuum. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2007:chap 5.

The importance of preconception care in the continuum of women's health care. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 313. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;106:665-666.


Review Date: 9/2/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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