Due to the current pandemic, some women may be thinking about postponing having another baby for a later time. But for others, that's not the case. There are many factors that play a role when deciding to have a baby.
One thing to keep in mind is that a healthy pregnancy begins long before conception. Let’s talk about how to make this pregnancy as safe and healthy as possible for you and your baby.
health is a woman’s health before she gets pregnant. Interconception
health is a women’s health between pregnancies. If you already had a baby and
you are planning to get pregnant again,
you are in the interconception stage. Here are few things to keep in mind:
smoke. It may be tempting to
start smoking again after having a baby, but it’s better if stay away from cigarettes,
vaping or any other tobacco product. Smoking can be very harmful to you and
your future baby.
- Don’t put off important health check-ups. Even if
you are busy tending to your baby, your health is always a priority. Being
healthy before pregnancy can help you have a healthy baby.
When is it safe to get pregnant again?
For most women, it's best to wait at least 18 months (1½ years)
between giving birth and getting pregnant again. This much time gives your body
time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next
pregnancy. The time between giving birth and getting pregnant again is called
birth spacing, pregnancy spacing and interpregnancy interval (also called IPI).
Too little time between pregnancies increases your baby’s risk of
premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), low birthweight (when your baby
is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) and being smaller than normal.
Talk to your provider about birth
control so you don’t get pregnant again too soon.
Do you need a preconception checkup even if you have had a baby
Yes. A preconception
checkup is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy. It helps your
health care provider make sure you’re healthy and that your body is ready for
pregnancy. The checkup helps your provider treat and sometimes prevent health
conditions that may affect your pregnancy. Get one even if you’ve already had a
baby. Your health may have changed since you were last pregnant.
Talk to your provider about:
- Any conditions you had in a past pregnancy,
such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
- Getting treatment before pregnancy for chronic
conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus and phenylketonuria (PKU).
- Taking folic acid. Folic
acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and
development. Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day before getting pregnant and
during early pregnancy may help neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs are birth
defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord.
- Getting to a healthy weight. You’re more
likely to have health problems during pregnancy if you’re overweight (weigh too
much) or underweight (weigh too little). Talk to your provider about the right
weight for you.
Taking steps now to improve your health can help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby. You may also want to take a look at our COVID-19 page to learn how to protect yourself and your future baby from this infection.