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Are you pondering pregnancy? Make sure your body is prepared for a baby

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Brandi Compton-Joseph, M.D., OB-GYN

SUGAR LAND — Making sure your body is ready to support a healthy pregnancy is an essential part of pregnancy planning.
“Addressing modifiable risks and making dietary changes can have a measurable benefit for mom and baby,” said Brandi Compton-Joseph, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “The benefit is not just for the first baby, but for all subsequent babies, too. Putting the effort in up front can mean an important pay-off in your children’s health.”
So is your body baby-ready? Answer these questions to find out.
Do you smoke?
“The number one change a woman should make before she gets pregnant is to stop smoking,” Compton-Joseph said. “Smoking can cause low birth weight and premature birth. Your baby is also at greater risk for asthma and ear infections if smoking occurs in the home.”
Are you taking folic acid?
Inadequate folic acid intake is linked to spina bifida and other birth defects, many of which occur before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. “Before you start trying to get pregnant, take folic acid to build up a reserve,” Compton-Joseph said. She recommends taking 0.4 milligrams of folic acid or 4.0 milligrams if you have a family history of spina bifida. Taking a prenatal vitamin ensures that you’re getting optimal nutrition, and it will meet the folic acid needs for most women.
Do you exercise regularly?
Developing the habit of regular exercise before pregnancy makes it more likely you’ll continue to exercise during and after your pregnancy. “Exercise can help to not only get you back to your previous weight after delivery but, more importantly, decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, aches and pains caused by the pregnancy along with postpartum depression,” Compton-Joseph said.
If you have a chronic medical condition, is it under control?
Seizure disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma are examples of chronic conditions that may impact your pregnancy. “Often the medications for chronic conditions can impact the fetus, so it’s a good idea to work with your doctor to create a plan,” Compton-Joseph said. A preconception consultation with your OB-GYN can help you determine how to best handle chronic conditions during pregnancy.
For more information on the Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, visit houstonmethodist.org/childbirth-sl or call 281.274.7500 to find a doctor in your area. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.

Pondering Pregnancy Seminar
If getting pregnant is a matter you are seriously considering, don’t miss our expert panel discussion about your preparation for a healthy pregnancy. Join us at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit events.houstonmethodist.org/pondering-sl, or call 281.274.7500.


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