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Planning ahead: Having the healthiest baby possible

Women who improve their own health before pregnancy have a better chance of delivering a robust, healthy baby. Three important measures include:

  • Managing conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, inherited disorders, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, and oral health;
  • Protecting one's health through supplements such as folic acid, vaccinations for Rubella, Hepatitis B, and screening for HIV, and
  • Avoiding alcohol, anti-epileptic drugs, acne-controlling medicines, oral anticoagulants and smoking

More information on these and other measures are now freely accessible online in a special Supplement to the Maternal and Child Health Journal, published by Springer. The Supplement provides everything that health care specialists and the public need to know about the importance of women's health and health care before pregnancy. Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes and a co-author of the lead article of the Supplement, said, "The greatest opportunities for improving the health of mothers and babies lie in prevention strategies implemented before conception."

Dr. Hani Atrash, co-editor of the Supplement and associate director for program development at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said, "It is not enough to worry about a pregnant woman's health only during her pregnancy or a child's health only after his or her birth, because many of the factors that contribute to the mother's and child's health can be identified and often successfully managed before pregnancy."

Bill Tucker, Executive Editor at Springer, said, "In order to ensure that this important information reaches a wider public, the Supplement has been made available on our online platform SpringerLink, free of charge, to anyone." The Supplement can be viewed at



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