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Starting a Family

It is a good idea to have a preconception visit with a doctor or midwife when you start thinking about becoming pregnant. This visit is especially important if you have a pre-existing medical problem or are taking medications on a regular basis.

At your preconception visit, you will have a chance to voice your concerns, get an idea of your general health, and learn how to be in the best shape possible to bring a baby into the world.

During the visit, you may have a pelvic exam. Your doctor or midwife will verify that you have all your necessary immunizations, and discuss any concerns you may have about becoming pregnant.

Preparing for pregnancy

  • It is important to improve your diet and make sure you are receiving all the necessary vitamins and minerals even before you get pregnant. Eating right boosts your chances of ovulation and having a healthy early pregnancy. We recommend vitamin supplements, especially folic acid, for women trying to become pregnant.
  • If you are very underweight or overweight, your chances of becoming pregnant might be lower and your risk of miscarriage higher. Try to get to your ideal weight (your doctor or midwife can help you find out what is best for you), and maintain it.
  • If you are using illegal drugs or think you will have a problem stopping your use of alcohol or cigarettes, talk to your doctor, midwife or nurse. We can help you find the care you need to stop.

Learn more about pregnancy and giving birth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Our Prenatal Diagnosis Program offers counseling and testing for women who are thinking about becoming pregnant. About 800 patients a year use our prenatal diagnosis and genetic counseling services.

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