Pre-Pregnancy Checklist Helps Prepare Couples

I plead with my smokers to quit "cold turkey" before pregnancy. If they haven't stopped, I strongly encourage that they stop or smoke as little as possible. The use of nicotine gum, patches and medication is not recommended during pregnancy.

Illicit drugs should never be used during pregnancy. They can have major impacts upon an unborn child. Alcohol can also be very harmful during pregnancy. In advance of conceiving, mild (1-2 drinks per day) alcohol consumption is permissible. Those who abuse alcohol may have a harder time getting pregnant because of its effect on their general health.

Pregnancy can be the most exciting (and scary!) time of a woman's life. Millions of women have gone through successful pregnancies in the past and much of what we know is based on their experiences. A few simple preventative measures can help to ensure that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible and that your child is born as healthy and happy as can be.

Craig L. Bissinger, MD is a board certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist practicing in Parsippany, NJ. Dr. Bissinger is vice-chairman of the Department of OB/GYN at Morristown Memorial Hospital where is is also actively involved in teaching medical students and residents.

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