♦ Take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day if you are planning or capable of pregnancy to lower your risk of some birth abnormalities of the brain and spine, including spina bifida. All women need folic acid every day. Talk to your doctor about your folic acid needs. Some doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain higher amounts of folic acid.
♦ Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
♦ If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions that can affect pregnancy or be affected by it include asthma, diabetes, oral health, obesity and epilepsy.
♦ Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using. These include dietary or herbal supplements. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date.
♦ Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause infection at work and at home. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.
Office of Women’s Health, http://womenshealth.gov