Preparing for Pregnancy and Delivery

A woman’s health prior to conception and in the critical first few weeks of pregnancy can profoundly impact a child’s health throughout life. Because the first few weeks of pregnancy are vital to the development of the baby, expectant mothers and women who plan to become pregnant should follow a healthy lifestyle and avoid any harmful activities and substances near the time of conception.

Following some simple guidelines can help you prepare for pregnancy. These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Taking a daily prenatal vitamin pill
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Participating in regular exercise
  • Moderating the use of caffeine and artificial sweeteners
  • Avoiding certain medications
  • Adopting a smoke-free and alcohol-free lifestyle
  • Avoiding exposure to hazardous chemicals such as pesticides

During pregnancy, it is important to get regular medical exams from your doctor and to have all appropriate prenatal testing. If couples have certain risk factors related to age, ethnicity or their family’s medical history, they may want to schedule a session with a genetic counselor.

Other important steps in preparing for childbirth and delivery include:

Cord Blood Banking

Patients who are interested in cord blood banking for later use in the treatment of some diseases must make arrangements with their obstetricians. To learn more about cord blood banking, see the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Frequently Asked Questions on Cord Blood Banking (PDF).

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