Planning Pregnancy

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.
  • At least 3 months before stopping contraception to get pregnant, a woman should begin taking care to eat a balanced diet, and she should continue doing so throughout pregnancy. 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 may be available.
    • Iron is found in such foods as meat and poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, and legumes. Iron tablets may be available.
  • If a woman has, or may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV, treatment can reduce the chances that her child will be born with an infection. If a woman thinks she has been exposed or might be infected, she should seek testing, if available.
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