Premature Birth: Important growth and development occur throughout pregnancy – all the way through the final months and weeks. Babies born three or more weeks earlier than their due date have greater risk of serious disability or even death. Learn the warning signs and how to prevent a premature birth.
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent major birth defects. Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants. Learn more about the dangers of smoking and find help to quit.
Alcohol: When you drink alcohol, so does your developing baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant.
Marijuana Use: Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and can harm your baby’s development.
Vaccinations: Vaccines help protect you and your baby against serious diseases. CDC recommends you get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your developing baby. Talk to your ob-gyn or midwife about including vaccines as part of a healthy pregnancy.
Infections: You won’t always know if you have an infection—sometimes you won’t even feel sick. Learn how to help prevent infections that could harm your developing baby.
HIV: If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, get a test for HIV as soon as possible and encourage your partner to get tested as well. If you have HIV and you are pregnant, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy and not give HIV to your baby.
West Nile Virus: Take steps to reduce your risk for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne infections.
Diabetes: Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for your baby. It can cause serious complications for you, too.
High Blood Pressure: Existing high blood pressure can increase your risk of problems during pregnancy.
Medications: Taking certain medications during pregnancy might cause serious birth defects for your baby. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking. These include prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements.
Depression: Depression is common and treatable. If you think you have depression, seek treatment from your health care provider as soon as possible.
Environmental Exposures: Did you know that when you’re pregnant you might need additional supplies or need to protect yourself during an emergency?
- The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUsexternal icon) are a direct link to medical and health professionals. Because environmental factors can impact health of children and reproductive age adults, the PEHSU network has experts in pediatrics, allergy/immunology, neurodevelopment, toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, nursing, reproductive health and other specialized areas. There are regional specialists across the country to answer your questions.
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has many fact sheets about toxic substances (e.g, lead, benzene) if you have concerns about toxic exposures.
Environmental and Workplace Exposures: Some workplace hazards can affect the health of your developing baby. Learn how to prevent certain workplace hazards.
Developing Babies Exposed to Radiation: If you think you might have been exposed to radiation, talk with your doctor.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Learn about pregnancy weight gain recommendations and steps you can take to meet your pregnancy weight gain goal.