A woman who wants to have a child can use advice about preparing for safe pregnancy and delivery and having a healthy child:
- It is best to wait at least 2 years after giving birth before stopping contraception to become pregnant again.
- At least 3 months before stopping contraception to get pregnant, a woman should begin to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and she should continue doing so throughout pregnancy. A healthy diet includes adequate energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals from green and orange vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts, whole grains, and fruit. Folic acid and iron are particularly important.
- Folic acid is found in such foods as legumes (beans, bean curd, lentils, and peas), citrus fruits, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Folic acid tablets are recommended.
- Iron is found in such foods as meat and poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, and legumes. Iron tablets are recommended.
- If a woman has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or may have been exposed to an STI, including HIV, treatment can reduce the chances that her child will be born with the infection. If a woman thinks she has been exposed or might be infected, she should seek testing, if available (see also Safer Conception for HIV Serodiscordant Couples).