Prevent premature birth

Courtesy of the March of Dimes

Nine months of a healthy pregnancy is the best gift you can give your future baby. More and more babies are born too early and those who survive may have serious health problems. Medical experts often don't know why premature birth happens. We do know there are things you can do, before you get pregnant, to help give your baby a better chance of a healthy and full-term birth.

Plan your pregnancy and see a doctor or nurse before and during pregnancy to talk about the following topics.

Nine questions to ask your healthcare provider

  1. How can diabetes, high blood pressure, infections or other conditions affect my pregnancy?
  2. How can certain medications (prescription, over-the-counter, or home remedies) affect my pregnancy?
  3. How does taking a multivitamin with folic acid daily, especially before pregnancy, help me have a healthy baby?
  4. What is my ideal weight?
  5. How can I stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs?
  6. How can I manage the stress in my life?
  7. How long should I wait between my pregnancies? (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that it's best to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again.)
  8. What if premature birth runs in my family?
  9. What are the signs of premature labor and what should I do?