Take Care of Yourself

Your body will thank you for it.

This is the time in your life when many possibilities lie ahead. And while the demands of everyday life may be great, it’s important to focus on your mind, body and spirit. There’s no better time than now to take steps toward a healthy lifestyle.

What steps can you take?

1. Be active for at least 30 minutes every day.

  • Take a walk.
  • Ride your bike.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Choose the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther away and walk.
  • Vacuum the house.

2. Eat healthy foods and get to or maintain a healthy weight.

  • Control portion sizes.
  • Swap sweetened tea and soda for water.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies.

3. Reduce stress in your life and get mentally healthy.

  • Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Talk to someone you trust if you feel blue.
  • Schedule some down time.

4. Get regular checkups as recommended by your health care provider.

  • Get tested for possible medical problems like sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
  • Talk with your health care provider about:
    • How to best manage any medical conditions.
    • How to get to and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Your family health history.

5. Stop smoking, using street drugs or misusing prescription drugs. Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get help quitting smoking.
  • Call the Alcohol and Drug Council of NC at 1-800-688-4232 for help stopping alcohol or drug use.
  • For help, talk to your health care provider.

6. Choose an effective form of birth control and use it regularly until you’re ready to start a family. Then make sure you are as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant.

  • Talk to your health care provider about the best birth control method for you.
  • Use condoms to prevent STIs.
  • Make a plan for when and how many children you want to have. Tell your provider when you’re ready to get pregnant.

7. Take a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day.

  • Folic acid may help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spine.
  • Take a multivitamin as part of your daily routine.

For more information on taking these steps, talk with your health care provider. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be ready to take on the world.

Originally published as a print brochure, “Take Care of Yourself” by the March of Dimes NC Preconception Health Campaign. To download a copy of the brochure click here.