See Your Doctor

Annual Check-Ups

Whether or not you are trying to get pregnant, regular checkups with your doctor* at least once a year are important to stay in good health. Good health now will help you have a healthy pregnancy too.

If you have any existing health problems, talk with your doctor now, even if you aren’t planning to become pregnant. Conditions like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure can cause health problems for you and your pregnancy plans.

Your doctor can also make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines. Getting all of the recommended vaccines now will help protect you from serious diseases before you become pregnant.

* Your healthcare provider may be a doctor, nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician’s assistant (PA).

Birth Spacing

Birth spacing refers to the time from one child’s birth until the next pregnancy. Research shows that waiting 18-24 months between pregnancies is safer for mom and more likely to result in a healthy baby. The best timing for a next pregnancy also depends on personal circumstances and other concerns.

Talk to your doctor about the timing of your next pregnancy. If you plan to wait between pregnancies, ask your doctor about family planning options before you go home with your newborn.

Genetics

Some parents have health conditions that can be passed to their children in their genes. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about health problems that run in your family to understand your risk.

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Medications

Talk with your doctor about all of the medicines you are taking. These include prescriptions and non-prescription items such as vitamins, weight loss aids, and herbal medicines.

You may be taking medicines that are important for your health, but some medicines can cause birth defects if you become pregnant. For example, if you are planning to become pregnant, you should not take aspirin.

Be sure to ask your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine. If you are taking medicines that could cause birth defects, be sure to always use effective birth control.

Folic acid is a vitamin that any woman who could get pregnant should take every day.

STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections you can get by having sex, even once, with someone who is infected. STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.

STIs are common. They can reduce your chances of getting pregnant and may harm your pregnancy. Most STIs can be prevented. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or think you may have an STI.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Screening

Experts recommend that females aged 13–64 years be tested at least once in their lifetime and annually based on their risk factors. HIV testing should be available for all women regardless of risk factors.

Talk with your doctor about your test results. If you have HIV, early medical treatment for HIV can help you stay well. It also may help prevent HIV from being passed to the baby if you get pregnant. To find a location to get tested for HIV, call 2-1-1 or the Health Care Agency 17th Street Testing and Treatment Clinic at (714) 834-8787.

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Zika

People can be infected with Zika virus most commonly by the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners.

There is no medicine or vaccine to prevent Zika. If you are trying or planning to become pregnant, avoid travel to areas where there is a risk of exposure to Zika virus. If you travel to (or live in) an area with risk of Zika, take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

The CDC recommends that women who have been exposed to Zika should wait at least 8 weeks after the last possible exposure or symptoms before becoming pregnant. Once infected, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects and loss of the pregnancy. The CDC advises that exposed male partners wait at least 6 months to conceive. During this time, use condoms to help protect your partner.

Talk to your doctor if you are thinking about getting pregnant and are concerned about possible Zika infection.

Dental Care

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, improve your overall health by caring for your teeth and gums.

Taking good care of your teeth and gums can prevent disease in your mouth. If you need assistance with finding a dental provider, call 2-1-1.