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So you're pregnant... now what? Graphic with outline of a pregnant person and the Indiana Alliance logo.

So you’re Pregnant… Now What? Tips for Preparing your Body for a Healthy Pregnancy

Headshot of Jackie Franks, Executive Director of Indiana AllianceBy Jackie Franks, MPH

Pregnancy can be an emotional and overwhelming experience, so say the least.  Here are some top tips to prepare your body for healthy development for your little one.

Lifestyle and Behaviors

Alcohol Use

Alcohol can have serious effects on the developing fetus throughout the duration of pregnancy and even a small amount of alcohol can cause birth and developmental defects known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).  There is no amount or type of alcohol that is safe to consume during pregnancy. If you need additional information or resources to quit using alcohol, please reach out to us or check out the resources here on our website!

Smoking and Vaping

Nicotine use during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lungs and brain.  Studies also suggest a link between tobacco use and miscarriage.  Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the developing baby from getting enough oxygen. Additionally, mothers who smoke are more likely to deliver their babies early.  Preterm delivery is a leading cause of death, disability, and disease among newborns.  Smoking also puts babies at risk of a low birth weight, and babies born too small or too early are not as healthy.

If you are pregnant and smoking, we hope you will consider reducing your use or quitting. For resources to help, please visit QuitNow Indiana.

Toxic Substances

Exposure to certain toxic substances, like secondhand smoke, pesticides and solvents, can be dangerous to be around if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Read more from the CDC.

Medications, Supplements and Vaccines

Medications

Many medications, whether prescription or over the counter, are not deemed safe for use during pregnancy.  Talk with your doctor about all medications you are taking, how to stop taking them, and how to keep any health conditions you have under control during pregnancy.

Vaccinations

Most vaccines are safe during pregnancy and some (like flu and TDAP) are specifically recommended.  Protecting yourself and your baby from some diseases can help keep both of you healthy during pregnancy and the first few months of your little one’s life.

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is a type of B vitamin and is essential for healthy development of your baby’s brain and spine. The CDC recommendation intake for folic acid is 400 micrograms per day.  You can achieve this by eating foods rich in folate or by taking supplements.

See your Doctor

To have the healthiest pregnancy and best possible outcomes for your little one, regular medical care is key. Make a list of questions for your provider, share any medical conditions or concerns you have, discuss your medications, any vaccinations you may need, and additional steps you can take to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

 

 

 

More resources:

Smoking During Pregnancy- CDC

Medication and Pregnancy- CDC

Vaccinations During Pregnancy- CDC

Substance Use Treatment Facility Locator- SAMSHA

A Guide to Developmental and Behavioral Screenings

What is FASD? Check Out Our FASD Resource Directory Drinking & Pregnancy
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