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5 essential steps for a healthy pregnancy

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Baby Faire — Your Journey to Motherhood Begins at Enloe

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The way to a healthy baby begins with a healthy mom — and the journey starts long before a positive pregnancy test. Taking care of yourself before you conceive can help you avoid complications like preeclampsia (high blood pressure), gestational diabetes and preterm delivery and reduce your chances for having a baby with birth defects. The early stage of pregnancy, the first two to eight weeks after conception, is a critical time for fetal development — when your baby's facial features, brain, spinal column, heart and kidneys begin to form. But because you may not realize you're pregnant until three weeks or more after conception, your health status before pregnancy is key.

If you're thinking about having a baby, take these five steps to help ensure good health for both you and your future little one:

  1. See your doctor for a preconception visit. This checkup includes a complete physical exam and blood tests to look for infections and your immunity to certain diseases like rubella and chicken pox. Your doctor will update your vaccinations and discuss any current or past medical issues, your medications, family history, body weight, fitness level and lifestyle. Schedule a trip to your dentist now to have any needed X-rays or repair work done.To find a doctor, call 1-877-ENLOEMD or visit
  2. Improve your diet. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and protein-rich foods like lean meats and fish. Starting your pregnancy overweight can increase your risk for complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or a difficult delivery. Limit excess sugar, artificial sweeteners and junk food. Cut back on caffeine by limiting or avoiding coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate and medications.
  3. Take folic acid. Studies show that women who don't get enough folic acid, a B vitamin, are more likely to have babies with neural tube defects such as spina bifida or encephaly. Because the neural tube, which becomes your baby's spinal cord and brain, forms within the first three weeks of pregnancy, it's critical you get enough folic acid before you conceive. Take a daily supplement or a multivitamin that has 400 micrograms of folic acid.
  4. Hit the gym, jogging trail, bike path or tennis courts. When pregnant, women should get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Getting into the workout groove before you conceive will help you improve your fitness, get down to a healthy weight, reduce stress and gain strength and balance. Continuing to exercise during your pregnancy can reduce your chances for developing preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and ease constipation, varicose veins, backaches and fatigue.
  5. Quit bad habits. Smoking, drinking alcohol or abusing drugs can cause miscarriage, premature birth, infant death, birth defects and growth and learning problems. Ask your doctor about programs to help you quit.

If you're thinking about having a baby, make the effort now to seek preconception care and improve your lifestyle to give your child his or her best start.

Baby Faire — Your Journey to Motherhood Begins at Enloe

Saturday, May 31
9 a.m. to Noon (Check-in at 8:30 a.m.)
Enloe Conference Center, 1528 Esplanade, Chico

If you are pregnant or considering motherhood, join us at the Enloe Baby Faire. Have fun while you explore the adventures of motherhood.

• Q&A Panel with Physicians — include your questions with your online registration
• “Bump Up Your Style" maternity fashion show
• Sessions on Nutrition, Fitness & Parenting
• Exhibits, Healthy Snacks & Giveaways!

Register online today. The event costs $5 per adult.

1531 Esplanade Chico, California 95926 | P: 530.332.7300
This publication does not constitute professional medical advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. If you have medical questions, consult your medical professional. Images may be from one or more of these sources: ©Thinkstock, ©iStock, ©Fotolia, Mark Thau. ©2014 BlueSpire Strategic Marketing I

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