Planning for Pregnancy
If you are a woman thinking about your future, you should create a Reproductive Life Plan This plan will help you decide when and if you are ready to add children to your life. Some women start their plan in their teens and review it often to make adjustments as life circumstances change or to be sure they remain on track. You may want your partner to be part of this review. Even if you do not plan to become pregnant, it is important that you stay as healthy as possible — and a Reproductive Life Plan can help guide you.
Before you become pregnant, you should also schedule a visit with your OB/GYN or midwife to discuss the following:
- Your immunizations:
- Make sure you are up-to-date.
- If you have not had rubella or the vaccine in the past, get the rubella vaccine and wait at least three months before you get pregnant.
- If you are at risk for hepatitis B, get the hepatitis B vaccine. If you are unsure if you are at risk, speak with your doctor.
- If your last tetanus booster was more than ten years ago, get a tetanus booster.
- If you smoke, now is a great time to join a quit smoking program to help you stop. Call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for information on quitting or speak with your doctor.
- If you drink alcohol, you may want to start reducing your intake now. Since alcohol can be linked to birth defects, women who are pregnant are urged NOT to drink during pregnancy.
- If you're taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, be sure to let your doctor know what you are taking.
- If you are using recreational drugs talk to your doctor or call our Mental Health and Substance Abuse department at the phone number listed on the back of your health plan ID card. Recreational drugs can cause harm to your baby while still in your womb.
- Make sure existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are in control. Have the doctor treating your condition speak with your OB/GYN or midwife to be sure you are ready to be pregnant.
Some other things to do before you get pregnant:
- See a dentist to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium, iron and “B” vitamins.
- Speak with your doctor about which fish are safe to eat during pregnancy.
- Take a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day to help prevent brain and spinal cord defects in your baby.
- Do not clean a cat’s litter box. It has germs that may cause birth defects in your baby.
- Keep a record of your menstrual periods to help determine your delivery date.