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Health Care for Pregnancy Planning


woman looking at pregnancy test results

Pregnancy is natural but it can place extra demands on your body, so you need to know about any special risks you may face, or any special precautions you should take in the months ahead. Start by seeing your healthcare provider for a pre pregnancy or "preconception" visit.

Folic acid can reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Although you can get folic acid from food, most women planning a pregnancy can benefit from supplements.A preconception visit can help determine any risks to you or your pregnancy. It may also help you decide which type of care provider you want, and which tests you may want to take during pregnancy.

Here are some things to think about before you make your appointment:

Here are some things to consider:

  • Exposure to rubella (German measles) during early pregnancy can harm your baby. A blood test can tell you whether you’re immune. If not, get vaccinated and wait at least three months before you try to conceive. 
  • If you are of African descent, you and your partner can be screened for potential genetic problems, such as sickle cell anemia.
  • If you are of Jewish European or French Canadian descent, you and your partner can be screened for Tay Sachs disease.
  • If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, seizure disorders or any inherited diseases, your healthcare provider may want to modify your treatment so it’s safer for the developing baby.
  • If you have symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or are unsure of your partner’s sexual history, arrange for STI testing.
  • Let your dentist know if you are planning a pregnancy. This will give you time to schedule any upcoming procedures if needed. Good oral health is important, especially during pregnancy. Plaque build-up, caused by bacteria left in the mouth, can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. For healthy gums and teeth floss daily, brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and see your dentist every 6-12 months. If your teeth and gums are healthy, it's more likely that your baby's mouth will be healthy too.
Last Updated: August 2, 2013