While we spend most of our time focusing on promoting the importance of folic acid, our primary goal is helping mothers in Arkansas have healthy babies.

Folic Acid is a vital part of any expectant mother’s pregnancy, but there is a variety of other “do’s and don’ts” all women should follow for the best chance of having a healthy baby.

Avoid consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol-related birth defects are very common and completely preventable. Despite the mixed messages many first-time expectant mothers hear, even drinking small amounts of alcohol while pregnant can have long-lasting effects. For more information on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, click here.

Avoid using cigarettes and other recreational drugs. Any tobacco use while pregnant can increase your baby’s risk of being born prematurely or with low birth weight, increase the risk of the child developing respiratory problems, and increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Second-hand smoke is just as dangerous. Steer clear of public areas where you might breathe in cigarette smoke.

Drink plenty of fluids. It’s suggested mothers consume at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day.

Both before getting pregnant and during pregnancy, talk to your doctor if you’re considering adding any “natural” vitamins, minerals, drinks, supplements or herbal products to your routine. Just because it says it’s “natural,” doesn’t mean it’s good for your baby.

Also, discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor before getting pregnant.

Additional do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t try to lose weight during pregnancy.
  • Stay active. Light exercise is important.
  • Avoid contact with uncooked meats and kitty litter.
  • Discuss any recent health concerns with your doctor before trying to get pregnant.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Take prenatal vitamins.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good support. As your belly grows, so will your feet. Now you have an excuse to go shoe shopping!

And of course, start taking the recommended 400 mcg of folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant to receive the full benefits of the B9-vitamin.