Healthy Pregnancy - Women Veterans Health Care
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Healthy Pregnancy

A Healthy Pregnancy Begins with a Healthy You

Women who are healthy before becoming pregnant have healthier pregnancies and give birth to healthier babies. It is important for you and your provider to address any health issues and questions before you get pregnant.

Not everyone may be trying to get pregnant or want to become pregnant. However, almost half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Therefore, whether you are trying to get pregnant or just thinking about it, it is never too late to be aware of your overall health and prepare yourself for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

VA is committed to making sure that you have access to the full range of reproductive health services including preconception care.

What is a preconception care-check up?

Preconception care can occur over several visits. These visits are to discuss your health before your pregnancy. Your health care provider will ask you about the foods you eat (nutrition), history of smoking, drugs or alcohol use, your weight, and use of medications that may be safe or unsafe to take during pregnancy. You may be asked about you and your partner’s family genetic history to see if genetic screening is needed. If you are not planning pregnancy right away, your provider may ask about your family planning needs.

Reproductive Life Plan

Thinking about your goals for having or not having children and how to achieve these goals is called a reproductive life plan. There are many kinds of reproductive life plans. Your plan will depend on your personal goals and dreams. Click here for additional information about planning a pregnancy.

If you are not ready for pregnancy

Contraception (birth control, family planning) is important to consider if you are not planning to get pregnant immediately. Preventing pregnancy when you are not ready to be pregnant is an important part of preconception health. Work with your healthcare provider to choose contraception that is right for you. VA offers contraception care. Speak to your provider about which methods are best suited to you and your lifestyle.

  • Click here for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information about contraception and its effectiveness.
  • Click here for CDC preconception health information designed to improve the health of women and babies by promoting preconception health and healthcare.

Preconception Health Checklist

There are many ways to become a healthier you before pregnancy. The following checklist contains some of the first steps to stay healthy before getting pregnant. These ways are also important to your overall health even if you choose not to have a baby.

  • Eat a low fat diet.
  • Exercise regularly (for 30 minutes, at least five days a week).
    • For help with diet and exercise, VA established the MOVE! weight management Program to help Veterans achieve their goals.
  • Get adequate sleep (seven or eight hours a night for most people).
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin that contains 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid.
  • Do not take any illegal drugs or any legal drugs that have not been prescribed for you.
  • Discuss family planning and birth control with your healthcare provider.
  • Manage and reduce stress.
  • Discuss with your health care provider how health problems that you or your family members may have affect or are affected by pregnancy.
  • Address social support concerns you may have, including domestic violence.
  • If you have had any problems with prior pregnancies, discuss them with your healthcare provider.
  • Address hazards in your home or workplace that could affect pregnancy.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Quit smoking. Click here for more information.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any other medical or mental health conditions you may be concerned about.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about medicines you use, including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal or natural supplements.


Healthy Pregnancy Poster v1
Dimensions: 11x17
Dimensions: 8x11

Thumbnail of Healthy Pregnancy Poster: Version A

Healthy Pregnancy Poster v2
Dimensions: 11x17
Dimensions: 8x11

Thumbnail of Healthy Pregnancy Poster: Version B

Healthy Pregnancy Poster v3

Dimensions: 8.5x11

 Thumbnail image of healthy pregnancy outreach poster: A healthy pregnancy should be the first gift you give your child.


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