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Women's Health
Get healthy

A healthy you is key to a healthy pregnancy. Before you get pregnant, be sure to have a physical exam to evaluate your overall health. This is particularly true if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or other chronic diseases. Your visit to the doctor can also help you establish a healthy eating and exercise plan, give you information on local resources that may help you, and uncover if you have untreated infections or sexually-transmitted diseases that could harm you or your baby. For more information about STD's and pregnancy, visit Opens in new windowSTDs and Pregnancy - CDC Fact Sheet.

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Infections

Infections can damage reproductive organs and affect a woman's ability to get pregnant. Once a woman is pregnant, infections can affect the health of her growing baby. Whether or not you are planning a pregnancy, be sure to visit your doctor and get checked for infections. There are a number of things you can do to get healthy and stay healthy.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and HIV/AIDS can be passed from a woman to her unborn baby. STIs may result in infant death, premature birth and long-term problems.

Since you can have an STI and not know it, a medical exam is very important. During the exam, you will be asked questions about your sexual history. Your answers, along with the results of the exam, will help your doctor or nurse find and treat any sexually transmitted disease you may have. For more information on how to stay free of STIs, visit the Opens in new windowWomensHealth.gov Web site.

Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs)

Reproductive tract infections such as bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections are common for some women. Although bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection, if it's left untreated it can cause more serious infections. In a pregnant woman, it can lead to preterm delivery, and the baby may be born too early to be healthy.

Urinary tract infections are often painful and affect the bladder. In a pregnant woman, a urinary tract infection may lead to miscarriage or preterm delivery. For more information about urinary tract infections, treatment and prevention, visit the Opens in new windowMayo Clinic Web site.

Before you get pregnant, and for your own health, visit your doctor and nurse and get screened for RTIs.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Because pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small to be healthy, it is critical that you have your gums and teeth checked before you get pregnant. Since half of all pregnancies are not planned, making an appointment with a dentist now is good for your health and the health of any future babies you may have.

Other Links

North Carolina

Opens in new windowClick here for information about nutrition during pregnancy.

Opens in new windowNorth Carolina State HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care - Clearing-house of HIV and STD information, including where you can go to be tested

National

Opens in new window STDs and Pregnancy - CDC Fact Sheet

Opens in new windowWomensHealth.gov - Web site with lots of information about Opens in new windowbirth control, Opens in new windowsexually transmitted diseases, and Opens in new windoworal health.

For more health information, search MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

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Last updated: April 2013

 
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