Experts agree that the first step in planning a healthy pregnancy begins before conception. Important genetic developments in the embryo occur before a woman realizes that she is pregnant; therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy occurs can reduce the risk of complications later on in the pregnancy.
Schedule a Preconception Appointment
A good first step in preparing for pregnancy is to schedule a preconception appointment with your doctor. Employee's participating in GW's health insurance can search for a health care provider in their area by going to www.myuhc.com.
When selecting a health care provider, keep in mind your choices. Pregnancy is an exciting, inspiring and deeply satisfying experience. Make the most of it by developing your understanding to the fullest.
We also encourage you to take a look at UnitedHealthcare's "Healthy Pregnancy Owners Manual" to learn more about planning for pregnancy.
Start Taking Your Folic Acid
Women who are attempting to conceive should begin taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid. Studies show that by avoiding folic acid deficiency, a woman can reduce the chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.
Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about the benefits of Folic Acid during pregnancy.
Make Health Behavior Changes Now
Cigarette smoking should be discontinued, or at the very least, efforts should be made to cut back on the number of cigarettes smoked. GW offers a free smoking cessation program, Quit For Life, that includes personalized coaching and nicotine replacement therapy. This program is also open to members of your household.
Alcohol consumption should be avoided whenever possible. If you need support to stop drinking, contact GW's Employee Assistance Program. As part of this program you and your family members can each receive up to five free counseling sessions with a licensed behavioral therapist.
Achieving your ideal body weight before pregnancy is recommended because dieting is not medically advised during pregnancy. Women who are obese going into a pregnancy may be at greater risk of developing complications such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Consider joining GW's Weight Watchers at Work program for proven support in your weight-loss efforts.
Colonial Community has a wealth of programs and resources to help to support you in making positive health behavior changes. Review our Health & Wellness section of this site for more information.
Consider the Emotional and Financial Impact
It important to not only prepare your body, but also your mind for the transition to parenthood. Preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming for everyone involved. As a GW employee, you and members of your household can take advantage of GW's employee assistance program 24/7 to identify and address concerns, develop an action plan, and receive referrals. As part of this benefit, you and your household members can also take advantage of five free in-person counseling sessions. This can be a valuable way to talk through how you might be feeling about planning for a child.
You've heard it before - children are expensive. Check out BabyCenter's Baby Cost Calculator to get an estimate of how much you need to budget. Need help with preparing your finances to meet these additional costs? GW's work-life provider, LifeCare, offers financial planning services and resources to meet your needs.
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