Before you’re pregnant

Greatest risks The greatest risks for serious complications happen from the 4th week to the 14th week of a woman’s pregnancy. But most women don’t learn they’re pregnant until about 8 weeks after the date of their last menstrual period.

If you don’t know you’re pregnant until you’re 8 weeks along, your unborn baby could already have a problem. That’s why it’s so important to make healthy choices when you’re planning to become pregnant.

Unplanned pregnancies Many women are surprised to learn they’re pregnant! But if they’ve already made healthy choices for themselves, their babies will have a much better chance of being born healthy.

Health care providers There are several kinds of health care providers. You can visit any of them to talk about pregnancy and your baby. Your health care provider can be: an obstetrician (a doctor), a family practice doctor, a certified nurse-midwife, a family nurse practitioner, or a women’s health nurse practitioner.

Checkup before you’re pregnant During your preconception checkup, your health care provider will check to make sure you’re healthy.

Be honest! It’s important to be honest with your health care provider!

Your questions Write down questions before your checkup, and make sure to ask them!

You and your health care provider will talk about:
• your family medical history
• any chronic health problems you may have, like diabetes, high blood pressure and depression
• infections that are not sexually transmitted, like German measles, the flu and Toxoplasmosis
• infections that are sexually transmitted, such as HIV, and Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
• infections that come from a needle used for street drugs
• any medicines you’re taking
• taking a multivitamin with folic acid
• how much folic acid you need
• getting to a healthy weight
• smoking, drinking alcohol and using street drugs
• harmful chemicals to stay away from
• taking care of yourself
• lowering your stress level
• eating healthy foods

Prenatal checkups When you do get pregnant, make sure you visit your health care provider regularly. This is important for you and your baby! Read more about prenatal checkups here>>

Eligible for WIC? When you become pregnant, you may be eligible for WIC. Read about WIC here>>

Read about WIC eligibility here>>

Read about the foods you eat here>>
Read about having a safe pregnancy here>>
Read about germs and infections here>>
Read about smoking, drinking, using street drugs here>>
Read about the dangers of lead here>>