Pregnancy Planning

Deciding to start a family is a big step, and one that involves some planning. If you are just starting to try to have a baby, it is a good idea to talk with your OB/GYN. If you haven't selected an OB/GYN yet, this step can be an important part of your pregnancy planning. Patients in Greenville, Clemson, Spartanburg, and throughout Upstate, SC can use our physician search tool to find a local OB/GYN.

Once you have selected a doctor, he or she can let you know if there are any health concerns that you need to be aware of while trying to have a baby and get you on the right track for starting a family. Your doctor will provide information about nutrition and exercise, explain what to avoid during pregnancy, and give you additional tips so you can have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

In addition, when you are planning for a baby it is a good idea to start keeping track of your cycles so you will be able to let you doctor know your usual cycle pattern. You also can consider learning more about Natural Family Planning to help you learn more about your body and the cues it sends to let you know when you are at your most fertile.

If you try to get pregnant for a year without success, let your doctor know, as you may need to have further testing to see if there are any conditions that are keeping you from getting pregnant. We wish you the best on your journey to parenthood!

Prepare for Pregnancy

If you are ready to start trying for a baby, here are some healthy ways you can prepare for pregnancy:

  • Take folic acid. Aim for 400 mcg per day, starting at least three months before becoming pregnant. If you usually take a daily multivitamin, check the folic acid level - you may need to go ahead and switch to a prenatal vitamin to ensure you're getting enough folic acid. Taking folic acid has been shown to cut neural tube birth defects by at least half.
  • Stop bad habits. That means smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and using illegal drugs. These are associated with premature birth, low birth weight and other pregnancy complications like fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Take control of chronic diseases. If you have a disease like asthma, diabetes, epilepsy or high blood pressure, get it under control before embarking on a pregnancy.
  • Lose excess body weight. This decreases the risk of neural tube defects, preterm delivery, gestational diabetes, blood clots and other adverse effects.
  • Be sure that your vaccinations are up to date. Due to a recent outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis), all pregnant mothers and anyone who will be around a new baby are encouraged to get a pertussis vaccine. Flu vaccines are also very important for expectant mothers to have. Some vaccines, like rubella or chicken pox, should not be given to pregnant women, so it's a good idea to go ahead and get them before pregnancy. 
  • Watch for harmful drugs and supplements. Talk with your doctor of pharmacist about any over-the-counter and prescription medicine you are taking, including vitamins and other dietary or herbal supplements. Some medications can cause serious harm to a developing baby and should not be taken by women who are, or might become, pregnant. For other medications, your doctor may adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative drug.
  • Avoid toxins. Stay away from solvents like paint thinner, have someone else change the cat's litter box, and avoid handling hamsters, mice or guinea pigs as they can carry a virus that could be harmful to a fetus.

Need more information about planning for a baby? St. Francis helps patients in Greenville, Spartanburg, Clemson, and throughout the Upstate, SC area prepare for pregnancy with everything from prenatal classes and an overview of pregnancy stages to and tips for recognizing labor.