Many important aspects of your baby’s development occur before you even know you’re pregnant! Whether you’re planning to or may become pregnant, it’s important to start basic healthy habits now, so that you and your baby are the healthiest you can be.
- Ensure you are getting enough Folic Acid.
Folic acid is important to prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine. Before and during pregnancy, you should aim for 400 Micrograms of folic acid a day. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, bananas and avocados are some foods high in Folate. You can also find folic acid in a supplement form, as well as in fortified breads and cereals.
- Avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits.
Smoking in all forms can harm your unborn baby and cause birth defects. Alcohol in any amount is also considered unsafe during pregnancy and can lead to problems for your developing baby. Talk to your healthcare provider for resources if you think you will have trouble abstaining from smoking or drinking during your pregnancy.
- Get regular medical care.
Make sure you’re scheduling your annual exams and are up to date on all of your blood work, tests and vaccines, including COVID-19 and flu shots. It is also recommended to get the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine with each pregnancy. If you are currently on medications for other health concerns, talk to your healthcare provider about how these medications may impact your pregnancy, and about starting or stopping medications. Do not abruptly stop or start any medication without consulting your healthcare provider.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Try to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. Incorporate regular movement into your routine, along with healthy eating.
Learn more about how to prepare for your pregnancy and preventing birth defects by visiting nj.gov/health/fhs/bdr