Are you planning to become pregnant in the near future? If so, here are a few things that you should be aware of before you do. These few things can help ensure a healthier pregnancy and birth.

what to know about pregnancy

According to the NIH, preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Take prenatal vitamins before, during and after pregnancy.

Since 1998 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated fortifying all cereal products with folic acid the rate of neural tube defects has declined 26%.

Prior to becoming pregnant, have a consultation and exam with your doctor.

Discuss any pre-existing conditions and medications and how this may affect the pregnancy. Sometimes alternative medications are indicated.

Discuss weight issues with your doctor.

Being overweight can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, interfere with fertility, and new studies show possible psychiatric effects on the baby. Being underweight may make it difficult to conceive.

Stop smoking!

Smoking can cause many birth defects such as Down Syndrome and low birth weight.

Discuss any possible genetic disorders before conceiving and any tests that may determine a problem.

Having a child is a major life event. Planning ahead can help conception as well as the health of the mother and the baby. Lifestyle changes like eating well, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol are so important not only during pregnancy but also before.

Diet and nutrition can play a major role in managing weight issues, gestational diabetes as well as hypertension.

Questions about having a healthy pregnancy? Ask Dr. Perillo!