Planning Your Pregnancy

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By: West Boca Medical Center Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Pregnancy is like a journey, which actually starts before a woman becomes pregnant. Women who plan on having a baby can take steps to help ensure that they have a healthy pregnancy so their baby can have a healthy start in life. Here are five steps to help your little one start off on the right foot.

Step 1: To help reduce the risk of some birth defects, begin taking 400 micrograms (400 mcg or .4 mg) of folic acid every day for at least one month before and during pregnancy.

Step 2: Have a medical checkup before pregnancy. Preconception care, which is medical care you receive before you are pregnant, can help evaluate your health and identify lifestyle risks that could affect you and your baby.

Step 3: Be at a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Being underweight can cause problems getting pregnant and could increase the possibility of having a baby with a low birth weight. A woman who is obese has a higher risk of complications during pregnancy.

Step 4: Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking and drinking alcohol can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of complications and sudden infant death syndrome. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause lifelong problems for a baby including heart defects and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Step 5: Talk to your doctor about all medicines you are currently taking. This includes over-the-counter or prescription medications, herbal supplements and dietary products. Some may not be safe to take while pregnant.

West Boca Medical Center’s commitment to quality has been recognized over the years by various medical organizations. We are proud of the many honors and distinctions that our hospital has received.

Giving birth is a special experience, whether it’s your first, second or fifth time. If you end up choosing West Boca Medical Center to help deliver your child, we will take a “family first” approach to the care we provide you.

We honor a variety of birth plans with approval from the obstetrician or midwife. To schedule a tour and for more information about how you can start your birth plan at West Boca Medical Center, please call 866-724-6002.