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Optimally, all pregnancies would be planned well before
conception. In the United States, it is currently estimated that 40%
of all pregnancies are unplanned. This means that many women become
pregnant before they have had a chance to prepare for it.
The ideal time to start learning about
pregnancy is not when a
woman is already pregnant. In order for a future mother to maximize
her chances of having a healthy baby, she should to know what she can
do before she conceives and then what to do after she learns she is
For a woman, pregnancy planning means learning everything she can
about how her own health and that of her baby can be optimized. For
The expectant mother needs to know about those diseases that
can complicate a pregnancy by their existence or their treatment,
such as depression, epilepsy, thyroid disease,
If the mother smokes, she must stop, because
women who smoke
have a higher incidence of miscarriages and stillbirths.
She needs to be aware
of the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
She must also know which
drugs and medications she can continue to use safely and which ones she must
There are also a number of
prenatal tests that can monitor the health and
development of her baby.
Finally, she needs to plan ahead for the
labor and delivery. Although pregnancy itself lasts only
months, it is a period of time in which the maintenance of a woman's
health is especially critical.