Family planning begins before the family

When it comes to family planning, prenatal care can easily be overlooked. But prenatal care is one of the most important factors in having a healthy pregnancy, for both women and their babies. Proper prenatal care means that problems can be identified early and appropriate treatment given as soon as possible.

Whether you are planning a pregnancy or are already pregnant, there are ways to take care of yourself and future family members:

  • Eat a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Regular exercise; about thirty minutes a day is recommended. Regular exercise can aid recovery after childbirth.
  • Take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day to help prevent certain birth defects. See your health care provider as soon as possible after becoming pregnant so they can set up a schedule for your prenatal care.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Many of these substances can affect the development of the fetus and can even lead to premature birth.
  • Talk to your health care provider about vaccines you might get during pregnancy. Following these steps can help you and your child get off to a good start.

The Livingston County Department of Health provides services for women at all stages of life. Whether you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or are already a parent, you can get more information about the Center for Sexual Health and Wellness, WIC, or Community Perinatal and Child Health Collaborative Programs by calling 585-243-7299 or visiting

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