To improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby, do these 6 things:

  1. Get early, regular prenatal care. Studies show that good prenatal care helps ensure healthier pregnancies, safer labor and deliveries, and stronger babies. Your first prenatal visit should happen between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy (when your menstrual period is 2 to 4 weeks late). To begin prenatal care with an Intermountain clinician, visit the “Find a Doctor or Midwife” section, and search under the categories of Midwife (Certified RN) or Obstetrics & Gynecology.

  2. Don’t drink or smoke, and don’t take anything - even a pain reliever or cold medicine - without your healthcare provider’s okay. There’s no “safe” number of cigarettes or drinks, and many common medications can harm your developing baby. Contact your doctor for help in making lifestyle changes. For quick advice about medication, call the Pregnancy RiskLine in Salt Lake City at (801) 328-BABY, or toll-free anywhere in Utah at 1-800-822-BABY.

  3. Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid. Taking folic acid before and during a pregnancy can reduce the risk of a child born with serious birth defects of the spinal cord or brain. You can get prenatal vitamins through a prescription from your doctor or midwife, or you can buy them over-the-counter at the store. For more information on the importance of folic acid, visit the March of Dimes website

  4. Get enough rest and exercise. Balancing activity and rest will help you nurture your developing baby - and will help you feel good, too. Both rest and exercise help you cope with the mood swings of pregnancy, ease aches and pains, and manage morning sickness. For more information, see the managing morning sickness patient education handout from Intermountain.

  5. Eat nutritious meals. What you eat can affect the health of your growing baby. So make every bite count. Limit high-sugar and high-fat foods (like sodas and ice-cream and other desserts, and fatty meats like sausage or fried chicken). Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Go for low-fat protein foods like low-fat milk, skinless chicken or turkey, and beans. Drink eight glasses of water every day. Check out the Fit for Two material from the National Institutes of Health.

  6. Wear a seatbelt. It may not always feel comfortable around your growing waistline, but right now a seatbelt may save two lives. And if you want a head start on a safety seat for your baby, check out this car seat safety information from Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Medical Center.

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