published Thursday, December 29th, 2011

ASK A DOCTOR: I want to get pregnant, so what should I do to ensure a healthy pregnancy?

Dr. Jessica Scotchie

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

Q: I want to get pregnant, so what should I do to ensure a healthy pregnancy?

A: Here are the ABCs of how to maximize your chance of a healthy pregnancy. A: Achieve a healthy lifestyle. Optimize your weight, as women who are overweight or obese have a harder time getting pregnant and are at increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects and pregnancy complica-tions. Visit your OB-GYN for a precon-ception visit. She or he may recom-mend immuni-zation updates and/or medication changes. B: B vitamins are critical for your baby's formation. Start folic acid, 400 mcg/day at a minimum or a prenatal vitamin that contains 1,000 mcg/day. C: Cut out smoking, which can increase the risk of preterm birth, miscarriage, fetal growth problems and stillbirth. D: Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake. Most couples conceive within 12 months. If you haven't, consider seeing an infertility specialist.

-- Dr. Jessica Scotchie, Tennessee Reproductive Medicine; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

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