Plan for a healthy pregnancy
A visit to your doctor and taking personal responsibility for your health
can play an important role in your baby’s health
such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid
disease, epilepsy, anaemia or sexually
transmitted diseases, make sure it is
under control or treated. Let your doctor
know what, if any, medications, vitamins
or supplements you’re taking. Some might
need to be substituted or stopped.
My other recommendations include:
• Having a Pap test before pregnancy
• Taking folic acid supplements before
and during pregnancy to reduce risk
of neural tube defects in newborns
• Making sure you’ve had your rubella
A baby’s health is directly related
to his parents’ health, and is especially
tied to his mother’s health. A good
pregnancy outcome involves doing
things well in advance of pregnancy.
I recommend women consult with
their family doctor three to four months
before contemplating pregnancy. Both
you and your doctor will want to have a
clear understanding of your health and
any potential risks it could pose to your
baby and you.
If you have an existing health condition,
• Staying away from cat litter;
toxoplasmosis, which is caused by
cat litter, may cause miscarriage
• Avoiding toxic chemicals and
substances in the workplace or at home.
Taking some general personal
responsibility for your health can also play
a role in a healthy outcome. This includes:
• Stopping smoking, which may cause
low birth weight in babies
• Not drinking alcohol, thus
eliminating the risk of fetal alcohol
• Not taking illicit drugs such as
cocaine, heroin, LSD, crystal meth,
etc. These drugs are not good for you
or your baby and could lead to your
baby going through withdrawal. If
you are taking such drugs, tell your
• Eating healthy food
• Being active (walking is good)
• Washing your hands often
and especially after using the
washroom, before and after eating,
cutting meat, etc.
Finally, it is your choice whether you
act on this advice or not. So choose well.
— Dr. Kamalesh Gangopadhyay
Kamalesh Gangopadhyay is a retired doctor.
For more information, visit
healthyalberta.com and look for the Healthy
Eating and active Living for Pregnancy guide.