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A pregnant woman and a man looking at an ultrasound.

What can I do to promote a healthy pregnancy?

Once you're pregnant, early and regular prenatal care is important to keep yourself and your developing infant healthy.

During your first prenatal visit, your health care provider may talk to you about the following ways to help have a healthy pregnancy:1

  • Take folic acid.

  • Do not use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

  • Talk to your health care provider about medications.

  • Avoid exposure to toxic substances.

  • Follow a healthy diet.

  • Eat a safe diet.

  • Limit caffeine intake.

  • Talk to your health care provider about physical activity.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Talk to your health care provider about your nutrition status, including vitamin B12 and iron levels.

  • Get regular dental checkups.

  • Prevent infections that can affect your pregnancy.

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Citations

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  1. March of Dimes. (2011). Your first prenatal care checkup. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/your-first-prenatal-care-checkup.aspx External Web Site Policy [top]
  2. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. (2016). Dietary supplement fact sheet: Folate. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/ [top]
  3. h from Nemours. (Reviewed October 2014). Folic acid and pregnancy. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/your_pregnancy/preg_folic_acid.html External Web Site Policy [top]
  4. Womenshealth.gov. (2012). ePublications: Prenatal care fact sheet. Retrieved June 27,2017, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/
    our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.c
    fm [top]
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Preconception health and health care: Planning for pregnancy. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/preconception/planning.html [top]
  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Marijuana use during pregnancy and lactation. Committee Opinion No. 637. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 126, 234–238. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/
    Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/
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  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs): Facts about FASDs. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html [top]
  8. Eckstrand, K. L., Ding, Z., Dodge, N. C., Cowan, R. L., Jacobson, J. L., Jacobson, S.W., et al. (2012). Persistent dose-dependent changes in brain structure in young adults with low-to-moderate alcohol exposure in utero. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(11), 1892–1902. PMID: 22594302 [top]
  9. NICHD.(2013). Tobacco, drug use in pregnancy can double risk of stillbirth. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/
    121113-stillbirth-drug-use.aspx
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  10. NICHD.(2016). Ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/about/risk/Pages/reduce.aspx [top]
  11. NICHD.(2016). Prenatal exposure to marijuana may disrupt fetal brain development, mouse study suggests. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/
    031516-prenatal-exposure-marijuana.aspx
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  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Medications and pregnancy. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/ [top]
  13. Patrick, S. W., Dudley, J., Martin, P. R., Harrell, F. E., Warren, M. D., Hartmann, K. E., et al. (2015). Prescription opioid epidemic and infant outcomes. Pediatrics, 135(5), 842–850. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/
    early/2015/04/08/peds.2014-3299.abstract
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  14. March of Dimes (2016). Is it safe? Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/stayingsafe_indepth.html External Web Site Policy [top]
  15. Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. (2014). Lead and pregnancy. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/lead-pregnancy/pdf/ External Web Site Policy (PDF – 247 KB)  [top]
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Cancer and long-term health effects of radiation exposure and contamination. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/cancer.asp#prenatalrad [top]
  17. University of California, San Francisco. (2010). Toxic matters: Protecting our families from toxic substances. Retrieved May 18, 2012, from http://www.prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/pdfs/ToxicMatters.pdf External Web Site Policy (PDF – 903 KB) [top]
  18. Lanphear, B. P., Vorhees, C. V., & Bellinger, D. C. (2005). Protecting children from environmental toxins. PLOS Medicine, 2(3), e61. [top]
  19. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Food safety for moms-to-be: While you're pregnant—methylmercury. Retrieved January 6, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm083324.htm [top]
  20. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).(2010). Moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy [ACOG Committee Opinion]. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/
    Committee_on_Obstetric_Practice/
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  22. KidsHealth
  23. from Nemours. (2014). Exercising during pregnancy. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/your_pregnancy/exercising_pregnancy.html External Web Site Policy [top]
  24. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. (2009). Weight gain during pregnancy: Reexamining the guidelines. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/
    2009/Weight-Gain-During-Pregnancy-Reexamining-the-Guidelines/
    Report%20Brief%20-%20Weight%20Gain%20During%20Pregnancy.pdf
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  25. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2013). Weight gain during pregnancy [ACOG Committee Opinion]. Retrieved May 30, 2013, from http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/
    Committee_on_Obstetric_Practice/Weight_G
    ain_During_Pregnancy External Web Site Policy [top]
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  27. lifton, R. G., Roberts, J. M., Myatt. L., Hauth, J. C., Spong, C. Y., et al. (2013). Pregnancy outcomes with weight gain above or below the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 121(5), 969–975. PMID: 23635732 [top]
  28. Allen, L. H. (2000). Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(5), 1280s–1284s. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/5/1280s.full External Web Site Policy [top]
  29. U.S.Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf (PDF – 2.89 MB) [top]
  30. NICHD. (2010). Pregnancy and healthy weight. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/spotlight/pages/040710-pregnancy-healthy-weight.aspx [top]
  31. March of Dimes. (2016). Gum and teeth change. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/yourbody_teeth.html External Web Site Policy [top]
  32. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (2011). The kids are all right. Retrieved May 3, 2013, from http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/Research/ResearchResults/ScienceBriefs/Archive/
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