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Pregnancy - health risks

Information

If you are trying to get pregnant, you should try to follow healthy habits. You should stick to these behaviors from the time you are trying to get pregnant all the way through your pregnancy. Do not smoke tobacco or use illegal drugs, stop drinking alcohol, and limit caffeine and coffee.

Talk to your health care provider about any medicines you may be taking to see if they can affect your unborn baby. Eat a well-balanced diet and take supplemental vitamins with at least 400 mcg of folic acid (also known as folate or vitamin B9) a day.

If you have any chronic medical problems (such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, or diabetes), talk to your provider 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 unborn baby 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 counts.

References

Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, et al. Preconceptional counseling. In: Cunnigham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al, eds. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2010:chap 7.

Gregory KD, Niebyl JR, Johnson TRB. Preconception and prenatal care. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 6.

Jack BW, Atrash H, Coonrod DV, et al. The clinical content of preconception care: an overview and preparation of this supplement. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;199:S266-S279. PMID: 19081421 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19081421.

Review Date:9/26/2015
Reviewed By:Daniel N. Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in private practice, West Palm Beach, FL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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