Thinking of Getting Pregnant?
5 Things To Start Now

Talk to your doctor about these 5 things to do before and during your pregnancy.
They’ll help you – and your baby – have the best chance for a healthy start.

1 Take folic acid

It’s in most prenatal vitamins, and you want 400 mcg of it everyday. To help avoid birth defects, start taking it 3 months before you get pregnant. You can get it at most drugstores, with or without a prescription.

2 Stop risky habits

Quit smoking! Don’t drink alcohol! Don’t take illegal drugs! And if you enjoy eating raw fish and undercooked fish, meat and eggs, soft cheeses, and seafood with mercury, stay away from them until after delivery. All of these can harm your baby – so don’t risk it.

3 Take control of chronic diseases

If they’re not under control, they can lead to problems such as blood clots or delivering your baby prematurely.

4 Avoid toxins and some animals

Don’t use products such as paint thinners that contain hazardous chemicals. They can harm your baby, and so can viruses carried by some animals. Don’t change dirty cat litter or touch hamsters, mice, or guinea pigs.

5 Be careful with medicines & supplements

Some of them can cause miscarriages or birth defects. If you might get pregnant soon – or are pregnant – ask your doctor before taking anything.

This information is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider.
It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this information is at your own risk. ©2014 Consumer Reports.