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3 ways to prepare for a healthy pregnancy

Are you thinking about having a baby soon?

"Start preparing now," advises Lyn Wedyke, CNM, Gundersen Tomah Clinic certified nurse midwife.

"The health of your body today will set the stage for a healthy pregnancy. This equation just makes sense: healthy mom plus healthy pregnancy equals healthy baby."

Lyn recommends preparing in 3 important ways:

Take your vitamins.

Folic acid when taken at least one month prior to conception and continued for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is the best way to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs are birth defects of the brain or spine that happen in the first month of pregnancy, often before women know they are pregnant. Most prenatal vitamins contain 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, which is the recommended daily dose for women at low risk of NTDs. Even if you are not planning to become pregnant, Lyn suggests taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily during your childbearing years.

Quit unhealthy habits.

Smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs not only affect fertility, they also put babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome, birth defects, premature birth and learning disabilities, to name a few. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help kicking a habit.

Visit your healthcare provider.

If you're planning to become pregnant, let your healthcare provider know in advance. He or she will help you take control of any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression or anxiety, and answer your questions.

Trouble getting pregnant?

Generally, couples should be evaluated after 12 months of attempting to conceive without success; six months for women older than 35 or if there is a known problem. If you have questions, contact your healthcare provider or call Gundersen Fertility Services at (608) 775-2306. For more information, visit

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